Perfect Timing by Myrna

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STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Okay, I'm officially
starting to post this crazy thing. The title means absolutely nothing--I just
can't think of a good one! I should explain that my Paris and Chakotay have more
to do with the characters Jennifer Pelland developed in the Left Hand of Madness
series than any crazy tv show. For instance, in my little Voyager world, Seska
never existed and Tom Paris never turned in to a lizard and procreated with the
captain. My Paris is younger than he is on the tv show--he's about 25 here. This
story heats up in subsequent installments, which will be clearly identifed. PART
1 CHAPTER ONE As days went, Chakotay had had better. It was bad enough that he
was stuck on the food gathering mission for the third trip in a row, but due to
a malfunction in the warp core, he and Tom Paris were the only scheduled crew
available to go. Chakotay tried--and failed--to keep the disdain from his face
as Paris joined him on the transporter padd. Once on the planet's surface, Paris
accepted his ill temper with a resigned shrug. They silently went about their
business, scanning plants and gathering those that were edible. The planet was
mostly sand and rocks, with very little vegetation, and Chakotay was thinking of
calling it a bust until Tom found several varieties of fruits that grew up the
side of the mountain ridges. Harvesting the fruit was tedious and they'd been
taking turns climbing the rather precarious ledges and tossing fruit to the
person standing below. It was taking too long, so Chakotay suggested they stick
to the lower ledges where they could both climb and simply toss the fruit to the
soft sand below. Chakotay never quite knew what happened next. He stepped to his
left, made sure the footing was secure, then shifted his weight. The rock
beneath his feet gave way and with a sickening lurch, Chakotay felt himself
begin to fall. "Commander!" Tom shouted frantically, but somehow managed to
shove Chakotay back against the safety of the mountainside, but in doing so,
lost his own footing. With a panicked shout, Tom Paris tumbled 25 meters and
landed with a soft thud on the sand. "Shit!" Chakotay hissed, scrambling down
the ridge, pissed as hell to owe Paris yet again. He rushed to the lieutenant's
side, relieved to find him half conscious. "Lie still, Lieutenant," Chakotay
barked, gingerly testing Tom's arms and legs to make sure nothing was broken.
"Where does it hurt?" Chakotay asked, realizing immediately what an incredibly
stupid question it was, given the fact he had just careened down the side of a
mountain. He expected a typically flip response and was surprised when Tom
rasped, "I'm okay. I just....I just need a second to catch my breath." Chakotay
lifted a surprised brow. Tom's uniform had a hundred rips and tears where the
craggy mountain had snagged it; and if nothing else, he had to be scraped raw.
"Don't move, Lieutenant," Chakotay ordered. "I'm going to the shuttle to get the
medical kit. You could be bleeding internally or cracked a rib, so don't move."
"I'm okay, Commander," Tom feebly protested, but Chakotay was already on his
feet and headed for the shuttle. He returned a few minutes later to find Tom
slipping into unconsciousness. He pointed the medical tricorder at the prone
lieutenant and read the results. No internal injuries, that was a good sign;
extensive bruising and scraping, no surprise there. There was a nasty cut down
Tom's back which was badly bleeding, but other than that, the lieutenant was
surprisingly unharmed. Chakotay set the tissue regenerator on top of the medical
kit, then started to remove Tom's uniform. Tom moaned and opened his eyes,
instantly aware of Chakotay's actions. "What are you doing?" He gasped, pushing
the commander's hands away from his uniform fasteners. "Get away from me! Get
away from me!" The lieutenant started shaking from head to toe, looking at
Chakotay as if he'd just caught the commander selling secrets to the Kazon.
Chakotay chalked the reaction up to shock and moved in to continue the first
aid. "You have a bad gash on your back, Lieutenant," Chakotay said. "You're
losing a lot of blood." Tom pushed the commander off him again and tried to
scoot away. "Get away from me!" he cried. The terror in his eyes and voice was
enough to set the hair at Chakotay's neck on end "Don't you touch me! Don't
touch me!" Chakotay froze for a moment. Tom reminded him of the prisoners he had
seen in retention camps during the war. He assumed Paris was flashing back to
some unpleasant prison experience. "I'm not going to hurt you,
Lieutenant....Tom...But I need to treat your injury." "I'm fine," Tom whispered,
eyes wide with panic. "Don't come near me, do you hear? Stay away." Chakotay
sighed and pointed the tricorder at the lieutenant. "Well, you're going to pass
out from blood loss in a few minutes anyway," he said, glaring at Tom like an
irked parent. "Time's on my side, Lieutenant. But we've got four more hours
until Voyager's within range and with one of us injured, that's a hell of a lot
of fruit I've got to harvest by myself. I'd just as soon start now if you don't
mind." Chakotay started to approach the lieutenant, but stopped at the strangled
cry of helpless terror from the young man. "You don't understand," he said,
twitching in agitation. "It's for your own good, there'll be trouble and then
you'll have to go away! No one can know! If you know you have to go away. Please
don't touch me, Commander." While Tom mumbled his gibberish, Chakotay routed in
the med kit and came away with a hypo he touched to Tom's shoulder. The
lieutenant passed out mid-plea. Chakotay quickly unzipped the younger man's
uniform and gingerly peeled it off to his waist. Then he carefully removed the
turtleneck, which had already started sticking to the dried blood. Chakotay
winced in empathy, thankful he'd found something to knock the kid out with. It
had to really hurt. Finally, he rolled the lieutenant on to his side and
prepared to clean the wound and close it. Chakotay's face suddenly drained of
all color and he felt a forceful surge of bile rise to the back of his throat.
It was not the cut on Tom's back that horrified him. It was serious enough, but
beneath it, to the sides, covering every inch of the lieutenant's fair skin,
were the deepest, most virulent scars Chakotay had ever seen. This was what Tom
hadn't wanted him to find; had in fact, been willing to bleed out on the surface
of some barren, foreign planet, rather than have exposed. Had he been beaten in
prison? Chakotay wondered, reaching out to touch one of the welts with a
fingertip. It hardly seemed plausible. Anyway, the prison officials would have
made damn sure they erased every trace of evidence. Chakotay knew the kid had
been injured on Caldik Prime, but surely the scars would have been regenerated
if that were the case. Besides, these marks were obviously the results of a
beating, not a shuttle crash. Not *a* beating, Chakotay corrected. Beatings.
Plural. While no doctor, he could tell the wounds had not been administered all
at once, nor with the same tool. No this had been a consistent effort over time.
But why hadn't they been healed? And what had Tom been saying before he went
out? Something about no one could know or you'd have to go away. Who could make
someone 'go away' simply for knowing about this? The realization dawned on
Chakotay with an almost physical force and another swell of bile threatened.
"Your father did this," he said in a voice raw with horror and disbelief. He
shook his head to clear out the jumble of thoughts and quickly addressed the
task at hand. He cleaned the most recent wound, grimacing at its depth. The
regenerator went to work and in just a few minutes, there was nothing to show
for all the trouble except a thin red line down the lietenant's back, which
would probably heal by morning. Not that it mattered. The kid's back was a
battlefield; one more battle would hardly even register. Chakotay covered the
lieutenant with a blanket and wondered how a man could do something so heinous
to his own son. Stunned, Chakotay sat there in the sand, rearranging everything
he'd ever thought about the brash young lieutenant. He thought Tom had grown up
with the universe handed to him on a silver platter; unable to appreciate
anything because he'd never had to suffer for it. He'd actually said that to
B'Elanna, he thought shamefully. Something about Tom never having to suffer for
what he really wanted in this life, which explained the weakness of his
character. He shook his head, wondering why Tom went to such great lengths to
perpetuate the image of a pampered playboy ...well, not so hard to figure out
really. He probably preferred people thinking he was a spoiled brat to some
helpless....victim. With a final sigh, Chakotay positioned Tom so he was out of
the sun, then he returned to the mountainside and resumed harvesting. An hour
before Voyager was due to beam them back, Chakotay climbed down and arranged the
food to be transported, then he went to check on Tom. The lieutenant was
struggling to consciousness, opening his eyes and blinking in confusion. "You're
okay, Lieutenant," Chakotay said, his tone much gentler than Tom had ever heard
aimed at him. "Do you remember what happened?" Tom licked his dry lips, blinking
hard to get Chakotay's face to focus. "We were....picking fruit and I....I
fell," Tom rasped. "I'm....I'm sorry, Commander. We only had a few hours to get
the food and" "It's okay," Chakotay said, holding Tom's shoulder
until the lieutenant stilled. "You seem to have forgotten the reason you fell
was because *I* lost my footing. You were trying to keeping me from sailing off
the ridge. Guess I owe you again, Lieutenant." Something in Chakotay's voice was
confusing Tom. The commander never spoke to him like that, like they
were....friends or something. Then Tom realized he wasn't wearing the top of his
uniform and he remembered what happened before he lost consciousness. He sucked
in a huge intake of air, feeling more endangered than he could remember since
joining Voyager. He looked wildly around him then up at Chakotay, seeing his
secret in the commander's face. "I fell down a lot," he whispered, desperately
grabbing at Chakotay's arm. "I my bike. I'm....I'm clumsy and I....I
fell down." Chakotay's heart pounded in double time, trying to fathom the kind
of terror that would make Tom cover for a man 70,000 light years away. "He can't
hurt you here," Chakotay said softly. Tom brought his hand to his forehead,
nervously brushing it through his blond hair. "You don't understand what he'll
do if he finds out you know. He'll make you go away like the others; you don't
know what he can do...." "He can't hurt you," Chakotay repeated slowly, trying
to keep Tom from moving around. Tom shook his head. "I have to....please
Commander, my shirt," Tom said, eyes pleading. Chakotay found the discarded
shirt and handed it over to the Lieutenant, ducking his head at Tom's shame.
"Please don't tell anyone," Tom said in a quiet voice, unable to look at the
Commander. "Of course not," Chakotay said, reaching out to help the shaky
lieutenant stand. Tom flinched and drew back. Chakotay withdrew his hand and
stepped away. Blushing crimson, Tom said, "I'm sorry. I get....I get spooked
sometimes." Chakotay nodded his understanding and motioned for Tom to take his
place next to the food they'd collected. "Commander, I don't suppose....I don't
suppose we could just....I mean, I don't think I really need to report to
Sickbay over this, do I?" Chakotay wished he could accommodate the breach in
protocol; he found himself wishing, quite profoundly, that he could do something
to prove his attitude had changed toward the young lieutenant. He had no choice
but to shake his head at the request. "I'm sorry, Lieutenant. I might have
missed something. The holodoc will have to clear you for duty. Hasn't he....I
mean, surly when you had your physicals for Starfleet....." Tom shrugged
carelessly, like he'd known what the answer would be. "I've never had a
Starfleet physical," he said, staring off in the distance at something that
wasn't there. "My...father always took care of that kind of thing." "But since
you've been on the Voyager...." "Since I've been on Voyager, the doctor is a
hologram. It's different--I guess he only makes note of current conditions, so
my record's clean." He was quiet for a moment. "Commander, please don't let Kes
see." He swiped at the sweat on his forehead with a shaking hand. Chakotay
shrugged his acquiescence. When Voyager hailed them, Chakotay explained that Tom
had sustained a minor injury and asked that they be beamed directly to Sickbay.
The holodoc was activated and Chakotay explained what had happened and the first
aid he'd applied. In a low voice, while Tom waited nervously on a biobed,
Chakotay said, "Doctor, Tom's rather... embarassed by this and, well, he'd just
prefer it if Kes weren't here for...." "Since you are the one who attended to
the lieutenant's wound, I assume you mean that Lt. Paris doesn't want Kes to see
the results of the abuse he sustained as a child," the doctor said cooly.
Chakotay's eyebrows rose in surprise. "Tom seems to think you're unaware of it,"
he said. The doctor shrugged. "The lieutenant has so many hairline fractures and
welts upon his body, it's really the only possible conclusion I could draw.
However, when the patient is a Starfleet crew member over the age of 18, I'm
programmed to maintain silence about this situation, unless approached by the
patient. Lt. Paris has given no indication he wishes to discuss what happened to
him as a child, so I've said nothing." "Well, I'm pretty sure he'd like to keep
it that way," Chakotay said. The doctor nodded briskly while Chakotay moved to
leave. "Everything's okay, Tom," he said, pausing next to the lieutenant,
careful not to touch him. He looked hard at Tom's eyes, hoping the lieutenant
would read the layers of meaning in his statement. Tom merely nodded, his face
its usual controlled mask. It seemed such an obvious coping mechanism now that
Chakotay chided himself for labelling it arrogance in the past. How could he
have possibly mistaken the two? Captain Janeway was waiting for him in the hall.
"Is Tom all right?" she asked. Chakotay nodded and told her about the fall and
Tom's minor injury. She lifted an amused eyebrow at her first officer. "You
didn't throw him off the side, did you?" Chakotay grinned in spite of himself.
Gods knew there were times he'd wanted to. The grin faded slowly. "I think....I
think I've misjudged Lt. Paris in a lot of ways," he said cryptically. "Perhaps
it's time I got to know him better." Janeway took a step back in surprise.
"Maybe I was right to send the two of you down there together," she said with a
smile. "Don't tell me blowing out the warp core was just an elaborate scheme to
make friends of me and Tom," Chakotay said. Janeway smiled wickedly. "Well then,
I won't," she said, motioning for Chakotay to lead the way back to the bridge.

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. =========================================================================
PART 2 CHAPTER ONE (cont'd) Three days later, Tom Paris awoke with a shout.
"Lights on!" he called, breathing hard. The lights came up and he looked about
his room to make sure he was on Voyager, in the Delta Quadrant. Safe. Gods he
was hot. He kicked off his covers, wiping the sweat from his face. He was
dripping wet. Tom got out of bed and had to catch himself on the bedside table
when a wave of dizziness threatened to send him sprawling. Suddenly; his
quarters became deathly cold and he started shivering with chills. Man, he felt
awful. He'd hardly eaten since getting back from the planet; he'd thought he was
just freaked about Chakotay learning the truth, but now he wasn't so sure. Fuck.
Tom wrapped the blanket from his bed around his shoulders and sank to the floor,
shuddering violently. He rocked back and forth, trying to ward off the growing
panic. Maybe his father was making this happen to him. Since he couldn't beat on
him from this far away, maybe this was how we would exact his punishment. Tom
winced, knowing he was being crazy, but still kind of believing it anyway. He
decided to try and stand up and made it about halfway up before a hot torrent of
vomit spewed from his mouth. Fuck! He stumbled to the bathroom and puked yellow
bile into the toilet. When his stomach calmed, he collapsed on the cool tile
floor and rested for a little while, finding it impossibly difficult to think
about what he should do. "What time is it?" he croaked. The computer pleasantly
replied, "It is 19 hours 32 minutes." Think! Tom admonished himself. He crawled
back to the bedroom, nearly gagging at the stench of vomit. If he went to
sickbay, Kes was sure to find out the truth; he had to protect her from that. He
felt so sick, though. There had to be something he could do. Why was it so hard
to think? He found his comm badge and activated it. "Paris to Chakotay."
"Chakotay here." The voice sound neutral, even a little curious. "Commander,
could I...could I talk to you in my quarters?" "Of course," said Chakotay,
sounding oddly pleased. "I'll be right there. Chakotay out." Tom thought he
should try to clean up the mess, but barely had enough energy to pull the
blanket up around him and make his way to the couch. Relief swelled in his chest
when Chakotay buzzed at his door. The commander walked in, repelling at the
odor, then looked worriedly at Tom, trembling on the couch. "Tom, what's wrong?"
he asked. "I d-d-don't know," Tom stuttered. "I g-g-guess I'm sick. I....I
thought m-m-maybe you could fix it." He looked up at the commander, eyes round
as saucers; the most nakedly innocent look Chakotay had ever seen. His heart
melted at the lieutenant's trust. "Tom, we'll go to Sickbay. The doctor will be
able to fix you right up." Tom shook his head, but stopped because it made the
nausea worse. "You fixed everything on the planet," he reminded the commander.
"Can't you know, do it again?" Chakotay sighed and looked around for
a tricorder. He pointed it at Tom. His temperature was 104(, he noted with alarm
and none of the other readings made any sense to him. "Tom, I don't know what's
wrong. We need the doctor." Tom's face fell as he shook his head. "I'm okay," he
mumbled. Chakotay took a deep breath and let it out slowly. The kid had been a
mess since they got back from the planet--dark circles of sleeplessness bruising
his face; missing simple commands on the bridge; retreating, like a wounded
puppy, to his quarters after his shift. Chakotay was relieved to see now it was
because he was ill and not simply traumatized by having his secret out. Chakotay
had tried to make himself available to the young man without being
overbearing--a situation the normally staid commander was finding increasingly
difficult. If he didn't know better, he'd think he'd become obsessed with the
pilot. He'd taken to hovering around Sandrine's, loitering at the replimat,
reminding the lieutenant numerous times he was available if he needed to talk.
Chakotay gingerly sat down next to Tom. "I don't know how to help you," he
repeated in a gentle voice. "But you've got a really high fever, Tom and I'm
worried. I'd hate it if something happened to you." "You would?" Tom's voice was
such a mixture of surprised delight that Chakotay felt a lump swell at the back
of his throat. "Of course, I would," Chakotay answered. "So let's go to Sickbay
and get this thing cleared up, okay?" Tom wasn't ready yet. He shook his head
and shrank back into the pillows of the couch. Chakotay inched a little closer.
"Tom, would you feel any different if I told you the doctor already knows what
happened to you?" Tom's whole body sagged in consummate disappointment. "You
told him?" he asked, tears pooling in his blue eyes. "You said you wouldn't..."
"Oh no, Tom, no, I didn't tell him," Chakotay hastened to explain. "I guess it's
pretty easy for him to figure out things like this--you know, he can see where
you had broken bones and things like that. I gave you my word, Tom. No one will
learn this from me." Tom was sweating again. It was hard to think. "I
guess...I'm not sure....what I'm supposed to do," he stammered worriedly. "We're
going to go to Sickbay," Chakotay said, deciding for him. He looked around
around for a clean shirt, dressed the lieutenant and helped him to stand. "But
Kes will be there and she'll....she'll find out," Tom remembered when they were
almost out the door. "I'll help the doctor," Chakotay said. "He won't need to
call for Kes." Tom nodded hesitently and with an anxious look back at his
quarters, let himself be led to Sickbay. ++++++++++++++++++++ Twelve hours
later, Chakotay was exhausted, the doctor was irritable, and they were no closer
to healing Tom's illness than when they started. The doctor had identified the
viral agent causing his symptoms and determined he contracted it through the
open wound on the planet. Unfortunately, the doctor couldn't find a drug the
virus would respond to. Tom's fever continued to climb, levelling off at a steep
105(. He sighed as the doctor took another blood sample. "I'm going to be sick,"
he said quietly, struggling to his side. Chakotay helped him to sit, holding the
bed pan while Tom retched. Tom slumped tiredly when he was finished, saying
nothing as Chakotay cleaned him up. Not much pride left after 12 hours of puking
all over the place. He'd finally stopped apologizing when Chakotay, only half
joking, ordered him to cut it out, but he still felt humilated and helpless.
"You must be tired," Tom rasped. His throat hurt from all the vomitting but just
the thought of drinking water made his stomach rumble ominously. "I'm all
right," Chakotay said. "Hell, I'd rather be doing this than working on the duty
roster." Tom's eyes widened in surprise as he watched Chakotay empty out the
bedpan. "Boy, that must be a *really* shitty job," he said. Chakotay laughed. It
was the first remotely smart ass comment he'd heard the lieutenant make since
their return from the planet and he took it as a good sign. Chakotay set the bed
pan aside and returned to Tom with a cool cloth he used to wipe down his face
and chest. He'd stopped flinching every time Chakotay touched him which relieved
the commander. He was starting to feel like some oversized brute whenever he got
near the kid. "Why can't the doctor fix what's wrong?" Tom asked in a low voice.
Wondering the same thing, Chakotay shrugged his broad shoulders. "Our sensors
don't recognize the virus in your blood stream," he said, parrotting what the
doctor had told him earlier. "Since they don't recognize it, it hard to figure
out which drugs will cure it. Right now, the doctor is loading as much
information into the computer as he can so he can find a virus we've already
identified which is most like this one, then he'll know what medication to give
you." Tom shivered and burrowed under the covers. "I keep thinking maybe my
father... maybe he's making me get sick 'cause I let you find out what happened.
Pretty....pretty crazy, huh?" Chakotay felt that lump in his throat again.
"That's *not* what's happening," he said gently, wondering if Tom had ever felt
truly safe in his entire life. "But it's hardly crazy that you'd think so. I can
see how it might be pretty easy to come to that conclusion." Tom looked oddly at
the commander. "It's kind of....kind of weird, you being so nice to me and
everything." Chakotay chuckled. "I bet it does seem kind of weird, Lieutenant. I
guess it took a fall off a mountain for me to figure out I misjudged you." Tom
smiled back unexpectedly. He looked vulnerable and a little hopeful and all of
ten years old, and Chakotay had to actually refrain from hugging him. Gods, talk
about weird, the commander thought. He lightly touched Tom's hair, surprised at
its softness. "Why don't you try to sleep a little," he suggested. Tom nervously
furrowed his brows. "The dreams keep coming. I get....all mixed up about what's
real...." "Well I'm here now," Chakotay said. "I'll make sure you don't get
mixed up, so you just relax and try to get some rest."
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ After grabbing a few hours sleep on the vacant
biobed next to Tom's, Chakotay woke and immediately turned to the doctor who
pursed his lips and shook his head. Kes was with him in the lab, having promised
she wouldn't actually tend to the young lieutenant. Her easy acceptance of the
request, coupled with the absolute absence of curiosity made Chakotay think she
knew the truth as well. Chakotay yawned and checked the readings over Tom's
head. His temperature was still lingering around 105(. The other readings made
no sense, but he had a feeling they weren't very encouraging. He was thinking
about taking a shower when the stench of urine wafted through the room and he
realized Tom had wet himself. Knowing how humiliating it would be to wake up in
soiled clothing, Chakotay hastened to clean him up. He removed the lieutenant's
underwear and dipped a cloth in warm water. As his cleansing motion moved
downward, Chakotay was revolted to see scars, more horrific than those on his
back, covering Tom's penis. These were puckered burn marks made by a torture
device. Chakotay's vision was momentarily clouded by a murderous black rage.
What kind of *monster*; what kind of *abomination* would do such a thing? He
quickly finished and dressed the young lieutenant. Giving in to temptation, he
lightly brushed the damp hair from Tom's sweaty forehead. And what, gods
preserve him, does it do to the child who's on the receiving end? With a
depressed sigh, Chakotay called the captain to report the no change status. She
shook her head in frustration; her face lined with worry. She thanked Chakotay
for remaining with the lieutenant and he felt guilty for allowing the assumption
that he was doing some kind of favor for the frightened young man. The thought
of being anywhere else was impossible. With characteristic patience, Chakotay
assumed he would sort out his bizarre feelings for Tom when the lieuteant had
recovered. As it was, he simply ignored them as best he could and went about his
business. Promising to inform Janeway if there was any change, Chakotay clicked
off. In the shower, he found himself wondering about Janeway's concern for the
kid. It seemed somehow more pronounced than when other crew members had been
sick or injured. She'd served with the kid's father. Did she perhaps suspect?
No, that was impossible. She'd said numerous times how much she'd respected the
great admiral. Mayber her interest in the lieutenant went deeper than mere
professional esteem. Chakotay froze, stunned by the onslought of jealousy
coursing through his system. Jealous? Of Janeway? Oh come on, sure the kid was
handsome in an all-Earth, Starfleet Fly Boy kind of way, but gods! Okay, so he
had lusted after the kid when he first saw him swaggering around the Maquis ship
back in the Alpha Quadrant. And maybe Paris had been the featured player in one
or two of his torrid wet dreams, but this wild, out-of-control emotion he felt
whenever he thought about the man; that was somewhere out of the nether regions.
Of course, when he had time to meditate on it, he was sure there was some easy
explanation for the whole thing. Probably the same way an injured person latches
on to their caregiver, the caregiver probably latches on to the injured person,
that sounded good. Gods, he was carrying like a lovesick teenager. Chakotay
finished his shower, shaking his head in disbelief. "You're an old man,
Chakotay," he told his reflection in the mirror. "And it has been fa-a-a-a-r too
long, so just get a grip for gods sake." When Chakotay returned to Sickbay, Tom
was awake and scared. His relieved smiled made Chakotay feel slightly guilty for
being gone. "I thought you went away," Tom said weakly. "I didn't....didn't want
to ask the doctor 'cause I was afraid of what he'd say." Chakotay returned Tom's
smile and cautiously came closer, having learned sudden movements unnerved the
younger man. "I'm not going anywhere, Lieutenant," he assured Tom. "I'm staying
right here 'til this whole mess is cleared up." "I still don't get it,
Commander." Tom said, eyes drawn in confusion. "I mean, you don't have to be
nice to me just because," Tom shrugged and lowered his voice to a conspiritorial
whisper, "because, you know." Chakotay looked away for a moment. Shit, what else
would the lieutenant think? A few days ago he could barely look at Tom Paris
without rolling his eyes in disgust, and now here he was, fawning over the kid
like some kind of devoted old man. Chakotay tried to put himself in Tom's place,
something he'd never done with the lieutenant--and a technique his father
espoused since he was boy. The ability to empathize was one of man's greatest
gifts from the gods, according to his father. It taught you the strengths and
weaknesses of enemy and friend alike and often taught you more about yourself
than you'd think possible. From Tom's perspective, the only thing worse than
someone knowing his secret would be their suddenly feeling *sorry* for him
because of it. Chakotay didn't know what to say to the sick young man; how to
explain to him that Chakotay's presence had much to do with assuaging his guilt
for being so hard on the lieutenant, for attributing to him the lush, spoiled
life so far from his reality. Chakotay glanced heavenward and hoped his words
would be inspired by some divine intervention. "Tom, I believe all things happen
for a reason. I may not know the reason now--I may never know it; but I believe
this life to be more than a serious of random events. I'm starting to think the
gods pushed me on that mountainside for a reason; sent you tumbling to the
ground, knowing what I would learn." "Why?" asked Tom, eyes as round as a
child's listening to a fascinating bedtime story. Chakotay shrugged. "I don't
know for sure. My spirit guide doesn't seem ready to tell me. Or perhaps I'm not
ready to know." With another shrug, Chakotay offered his own hypothesis. "You
may not know this Lieutenant, but I tend to be a very judgemental guy." "No,
you?" Tom teased, a brief smiling lighting his gaunt face. Chakotay
involuntarily grinned back. "I know, I know. You can hardly believe it. Well,
take my word for it, I am. I tend to judge quickly and set my conclusions in
stone. I tell myself it's being decisive, but perhaps its just being blind...and
deaf. Closedmindedness is the easy way out of a lot of decisions and I've been
taking the easy way out with you, Lieutenant. Perhaps all of this was engineered
to show me that. To teach me that what I think is the truth is so universally,
colossally incorrect, I need to reexamine everything I think of as an absolute;
to reevaluate based on the truth and not just what's easiest for me to believe."
Tom flashed his eyes and leaned back as if the explanation had tired him. "Wow,"
he said quietly. A chill shook him and he gathered the blankets closer to him.
Another teasing grin. "Next time the gods decide to mess with your mind, I wish
they'd use *your* blood stream," he said, blushing when Chakotay laughed. The
grin faded and Tom looked up at Chakotay's dark brown eyes. "Seeing what you
want to see is sometimes more a curse than seeing what's really there. Someone
told me that once." Chakotay's heart skipped a beat. It was precisely, almost
word for word, what he was thinking. Now his heart pounded in double time to
make up for the beat it missed. Where had he heard that saying? He'd assumed
from his father, but then how would Tom know it? Maybe he'd read it in a book,
or more likely in some Starfleet philosophy course. He looked at Tom in startled
amazement and said, "That's it! That's exactly what I meant." Tom shifted
uncomfortably in the bed, gripping tightly to the sheets as if he might be
thrown from his berth at any moment. "Do you think the spirits are telling me
something?" he asked, a faintly hopeful gleam in his eyes. Chakotay chewed his
bottom lip. It was his not place to interpret the spirits' work in someone
else's life, but he had a feeling Tom knew little of spiritual matters. He
probably needed guidance in the area. "Perhaps," Chakotay said slowly, "this is
a lesson in trust for you. To show you there remain people in this life who mean
what they say; who want to help you and see you happy and healthy and safe."
Safe. The word made Tom shiver and sharply inhale, as if it caused a physical
pain somewhere. He seemed to be looking for a place to rest his eyes and ended
up self-consciously watching his hands open and close around the sheet. "Maybe
they're just trying to tell me to keep off mountain tops," he said with a smirk.
Chakotay very gently held Tom's chin so he was forced to look him in the eye. "I
think the spirits have much more in store for you, Tom Paris." Just as gently,
Tom disengaged himself from Chakotay's hold, looking up at the commander with a
mixture of skeptism and awe. Apparently the awe won out. The lieutenant blinked
a couple of times, then averted his eyes once more. "You might just be right,
Commander," he said, and blushed clear to the roots of his pretty blond hair.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Tom spoke little the rest of the day. The
persisting fever left him listless and disoriented. Short visits by Harry and
B'Elanna failed to even register. Twice he'd nearly choked on his own vomit when
he started to throw up while lying on his back. Chakotay heard the doctor and
Kes ruminating about the failure of some internal organs and towards evening,
Tom suffered a violent seizure and appeared to be falling in to a coma. It
seemed unreal to Chakotay; the young lieutenant flailing helplessly in the grips
of the convulsions, choking for air, then when it was finished, vomitting up a
thick, creamy substance and groaning as if a ton weight rested on his chest. Did
he know what was happening? Chakotay wondered; was he frightened? The commander
was inexorably upset when Kes shooed him from the lieutenant's bedside. Surely
they understood Tom needed someone there; someone to hold his hand and tell him
everything was going to be all right. Everything *was* going to be all right,
wasn't it? Harry and B'Elanna were sitting out in the waiting area, but no one
else came. Chakotay grew angrier and angrier as the hours passed and not a
single crew member even inquired about the lieutenant. Chakotay wondered if he
would have bothered had he not accompanied Tom to the planet's surface. As First
Officer, he would have been interested in how it effected his duty roster, but
other than that he wouldn't had given Tom Paris another thought, let alone any
sympathy. In all probability, he would have blamed the lieutenant for his
predicament. When Tom had a second seizure, Chakotay was asked to join Harry and
B'Elanna in the waiting area. The three of them watched the lieutenant's
struggle through the glass enclosure. Harry surreptisiously swiped at his eye
and sighed at Chakotay's knowing glance. "Why can't they cure this?" he asked
Chakotay. The commander could only shrug and shake his head. Harry sighed and
turned back to where the doctor and Kes were frantically pumping medication into
the now motionless lieutenant. "He got really drunk a couple of months ago,"
Harry said quietly, looking sideways at the commander to see how he'd react to
the rule infraction. It didn't appear to register, so Harry continued. "I walked
him home....just to make sure he didn' know, pick a fight or something.
We got to his door and he gives me this look; like there's totally nothing left
inside him; and it really freaked me out. I remembered thinking if I left him by
himself he was going to do something really stupid...I made some pretense of
hanging out with him; something about Henley and her crowd having a party on my
wing, but he didn't buy it. Just gave me this look like he knew everything going
on in my head and kind of smirked at me and said, 'Harry, I bet you were the
little kid always bringing home damaged little pets you were going to fix up and
make right.' Then he just went inside and closed his door and the next day it
was like nothing had happened." Harry shook his head, moving closer to the
glass. "The way he looked when he said it--'damaged little pets,'--it really
tore me up. That's how he sees himself, you know? Damaged....worthless.
Sometimes for a brief second--for a day or two or three, he talks himself out of
it, but something always happens and he's right back where he started. And now
I'm afraid....I'm afraid even if he does have the strength to pull through this,
he may not have the will." Chakotay stood shoulder to shoulder with the ensign
and stared at the lifeless body of Tom Paris. "That's not going to be a problem,
Mr. Kim," he said with icy conviction. "Because I have enough will for the both
of us." He welcomed the shocked stares of Harry and B'Elanna, their incredulity
somehow bolstering his resolve. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Sickbay was
dark and deserted, and Chakotay couldn't understand what had made him wake up
until he felt Kes' delicate hand on his shoulder. "Commander? I think we've
found a solution of sorts." "Is Tom okay?" Chakotay asked, sitting up and wiping
the sleep out of his eyes. He looked hopefully at Kes. Kes sat down next to the
commander. "The doctor thinks he will be. It's not a cure we've found, so much
as a treatment. We haven't found anything that will rid Tom's system of the
contagion, but the doctor has discovered a medication that interferes with
it--sort of tricks it into thinking it's causing harm, when really it's doing
nothing. We gave Tom a dose a few hours ago and the seizures have stopped. His
temperature is down to 102( and we were able to reverse the damage to his
kidneys." "So he's going to be okay?" Chakotay repeated, not quite sure why Kes
was explaining in such a round about way that the lieutenant was cured. "For
now, he'll be fine," Kes said carefully. "The doctor thinks this is only a
temporary measure. From what we can tell, the virus is highly adaptable and will
eventually figure out a way around the medication we're using. The doctor feels
certain he can find an actual cure before that occurs, but Tom will have to have
his health monitored on a weekly basis to make sure there is no relapse."
Chakotay offered a tentative smile, reaching out to squeeze Kes' hand. "You've
been terrific through this, Kes. I'm not sure you realize how lucky Voyager is
to have you." Kes smiled at the praise. "He's awake Commander. And asking for
you." Chakotay walked carefully to Tom's side, as if he not only had to be
careful of the lieutenant, but of the space around him. He gingerly placed his
large hand over Tom's smaller one. "Hey," Tom rasped in a voice so soft,
Chakotay had to lean down to hear him. "I'm still here." His tone was half
disbelief, half defiance and Chakotay chuckled softly in relief. "Like we
thought a stubborn ass, hot shot like you was going anywhere without a fight,"
he said, smiling as a flicker of amusement registered on Tom's face. Chakotay
lightly brushed his fingers through Tom's hair. "You get some rest, Lieutenant,"
he said. "The captain will want to know that you're all right. And I think the
betting crowd at Sandrine's has some settling up to do." Tom smiled. Chakotay
was struck by how beautiful the lieutenant was when a smile reached all the way
up to his eyes--pity it so rarely happened. The commander leaned in and
whispered, "I heard Ensign Walker had you at five to one to kick it. I'm going
to track him down and tell him he's on report unless he gives you half the pot."
Tom laughed weakly, never taking his eyes from Chakotay's smiling face. The
commander was shocked with Tom reached up and touched his cheek with his
fingertips, like a child mesmerized by its parent's face. ‘Begay was right,’ he
whispered as sleep came suddenly to take him. ‘You do hold the future of us all
in the palm of your hand.’ A strobe light of confusion followed swifly by
understanding exploded in Chakotay’s head. *That* was where he’d heard the line,
about *seeing what you want to see* being a curse. Joseph Begay, the once
exaulted Maquis mastermind. What in the *hell* was Tom Paris doing quoting
Begay, not once but twice? Another strobe light of memory and emotion and
despair. Chakotay remembered the riotous rush to embark on the mission that
ended with all of them in the Delta quadrant; remembered learning with
bitterness and spite of Tom Paris’ place at Voyager’s conn; remembered his
stinging indictment of Joseph Begay who for so long vouched for the integrity of
the Starfleet reject. Begay was a bitter old man by then; no longer the
brilliant strategist; merely a bothersome hanger-on, reliving old battles and
nursing personal injustices. His trusting Tom Paris, an obvious Federation
plant, would be the end of all of them, Chakotay had shouted, *shouted* at the
frail old man. It was time Begay left the fighting to those whose judgment was
still in tact; to those who knew a worthless, spoiled scoundrel when they saw
him, to those who knew better than to trust a ‘fleet bred, silver saddle good
for nothing loser. Chakotay heard the string of epithets burning through his
mind; heard himself screaming them at the cowering old man. Well, he *thought*
Begay was cowering. When Chakotay paused to catch his breath, Joseph Begay’s
eyes flashed with an intensity Chakotay felt like heat and with effortless ease,
he slammed the young warrior against the bulk head of the ship and muttered in a
low, nasty voice, ‘May you see what you want to see and not what’s really
there.’ Chakotay angrily brushed Begay aside and continued to prepare for the
mission. After both men had time to calm, Begay returned to Chakotay and handed
him a data clip. ‘I would like you to play this clip after I have gone to the
other side,’ Begay said solemnly. ‘And take care of that which needs to be taken
care of.’ It was a rather cryptic message; Chakotay remembered being annoyed at
the Begay’s sense of drama. He’d shoved the clip in his pocket, later shoving it
in a drawer, later shoving it in a backpack and later still storing it in a
drawer somewhere in his quarters. Suddenly Chakotay was running through the
corridors. It took twenty desperate minutes of searching; six overturned desk
drawers and a nearly ransacked closet, but he found the clip and set it on the
desk top, looking at it as if it might explode at any moment. Technically,
Joseph Begay wasn’t on the other side--not as far as he knew. Then again, given
the probability of their return to the Alpha Quadrant, he wasn’t in any danger
of finding out Chakotay played the tape before his demise either. He considered
approaching his spirit guide on the ethical quandry, but Chakotay knew himself
too well; knew he wanted this too badly to be put off by any kind of warning
from her. No, there was no decision to be made here. Chakotay got the feeling
all the decisions had been made a long time ago by forces much more powerful
than he.

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. =========================================================================
PART 3 CHAPTER ONE (cont'd) The face of Joseph Begay stared intently at Chakotay
from the computer screen. "I saw in your face this morning much of the anger and
bitterness that are now my life's blood, Chakotay. If you are not careful, you
will become an old, lonely man like me before you realize the fruitlessness of
such a life. It's too late for me, my young friend, but perhaps; perhaps I can
show you the error of my ways and earn some measure of forgiveness from the gods
I've disappointed so much. I have done things out of rage and hatred; in the
quest of bitter vengence, for which I am ashamed; things which, even now, I am
too ashamed to face, so I am taking a coward's way out--attempting to make right
that which I have so wronged, but avoiding any repercussions for my actions. You
were correct when you said Tom Paris was a plant; you were simply mistaken about
which side he was planted in. I first contacted Tom when he was 16 years old. He
was in the hospital after a particularly nasty beating from his father. Does
that surprise you, Chakotay? You see, our Tom Paris is not quite the
priviledged, golden boy you so revile. We'd had our eye on Admiral Paris for
quite some time; we had maids in his home and grounds keepers on his estate and
we knew for *years* the kind of monster he was. Years, Chakotay. Think of it.
Years of the morally superior Maquis knowing the boy was being tortured by that
beast and we did *nothing.* Oh, our first thought was to expose the admiral for
the abusive demon he was, but after Aaron died, after he killed my son, I
decided otherwise. I decided the admiral would pay for my son's life with the
life of his own son, and I began immediately with my plan. At this time I was
working as a Starfleet instructor and I ingratiated myself in young Tom's life.
I encouraged him in his studies; praised him for his successes; pretended to
believe his stories of falls down stairs and off of bikes while I soothed his
wounds and all the while I was boiling with hatred that this boy; this son of
Eugene Paris, was living and breathing when my Aaron was gone. Of course, Tom
suspected nothing. How could he? Why would he let himself? He'd known nothing
but anger and violence his entire life. So desperate was he for some shred of
kindness in his life that by the time I revealed my existence as a Maquis, he
swore he would do anything I asked of him--retrieving data from his father's
files, relaying sensitive strategic plans for fighting the Maquis--anything I
wanted. Can you imagine, Chakotay? A 16 year old boy, beaten to submission from
his first sentient moment, willing to defy this almighty ogre for our humble
cause? I should have rejoiced at his bravery; celebrated the spirited heart
still beating in this most damaged young man. But I could see none of this at
the time. I only saw the son of the man who'd killed my boy, and I dreamed of
the moment when the son of the great Admiral Paris was revealed to all as a
Maquis soldier; I relived in my mind over and over the media's gleeful reaction;
the admiral's abject defeat; his absolute humiliation in the eyes of Starfleet.
I dreamt of it each night; this seething need for vengence became the air I
breathed and the blood that was in my veins. And still Tom suspected nothing. He
went to the Academy, careful, mind you, not to excel too noticeably. He's
brilliant, you know. Not just a gifted pilot, but an excellent student as well.
He could have had firsts in everything without much effort, but I wouldn't hear
of it. He was instructed not to call too much attention to himself, which meant
enduring the insane rants and rages of that animal that was his father, accepted
only grudingly by his peers who assumed this average student was riding his
father's coat tails. I know now he wanted that Starfleet career. Wanted it like
he'd never allowed himself to want anything in his life. Wanted to show that
bastard what he was made of; wanted to show everyone who thought he'd been
handed everything what he could accomplish; wanted to fly a starship as far away
from the Alpha quadrant as he could get. But I made sure it was too late for any
of that. He was serving two masters at this point--me and his father; and it
pains me to admit my cruelty was not to be outdone. I told the boy I was testing
him; testing his loyalty and devotion, trying to decide if he was truly worthy
of my respect. I would make him strip, Chakotay, parade his scarred and damaged
body in front of me, revelling, *revelling* in his shame and degredation. I made
him kneel in front of me and swear his allegience; forced him to stand at
attention while I molested him; all the while delerious at his debasement;
mocking his tears and heartache; turning a deaf ear to his pleading whispers. He
was alive and my Aaron was not, and I could not forgive him for it. Eventually,
I became impatient for my plan to congeal. It was *years* in the making and the
payoff was centimeters from my grasp. I knew the gods were behind me when the
accident on Caldik Prime occurred. I convinced the boy to cover it up; convinced
him to admit his deceit and watched with glee as he was drummed out of the
fleet. He'd begged me to do it another way; to let him keep him commission, but
I wouldn't hear of it. Everything I'd worked for; everything I'd dreamed of was
almost in my grasp, why would I stop now in the face of his desperate appeals?
No, I made him see how much more good he would do the cause if he flew for the
Maquis. His father wanted nothing to do with him anymore, and good riddance to
the devil, I said. Tom belonged with me, with the Maquis, fighting the
Federation's injustice--and who knew better than he what kind of raging
injustices there were. I held out the offer of kindness and belonging and it was
like haze to a hazie. He was incapable of refusing. All that was left to do was
plan his flight, arrange an expendable crew, and make sure Starfleet received an
anonymous tip about the mission and who would by flying it. I watched him take
off, Chakotay, laughing, ecstatic, counting down the minutes until his arrest,
his deportation to Earth, his trial. I thought my heart would beat through my
chest, thought the blood boiling in my ears would explode for all to see. I
thought I was happy the day Aaron was born--it was nothing to this demented,
frenzy of joy. To my mind, the only thing worse than burying a son would be
having one live in shame and disgrace for the rest of his life, so I was
exacting on Admiral Paris that worst living hell I could imagine. Of course,
everything went according to plan--the arrest, the trial. I couldn't lose
Chakotay--Starfleet knew Tom was a Maquis plain and simple; the Maquis all
thought he was a Starfleet plant. The worst they could say about me was poor old
Joseph Begay--so distraught over the loss of his son, he blindly accepts the
Starfleet plant. A misjudgement from the old Maquis. Perfectly understandable.
Meanwhile, I'm watching it all with incomprehensible delight, but only toward
the end of the trial, do I realize, it's *not* going according to plan. Admiral
Paris barely seems touched by the incident. He disowns the boy in court, in
*public* for all to hear. Defiantly goes before the media villifying his son
with more contempt than I thought possible. There was no vengence on Eugene
Paris; no triumph of my hatred and dispair; Paris didn't care enough about his
son to view his failures as some sort of reflection on him. Tom simply became a
mistake; no more than so much filth to be wiped from his shoe without a second
thought. I realized then that the boy had never been anything but a tool; a prop
in the great admiral's picture perfect life--and when he no longer became
useful, he was easily discarded without a second thought. You would think this
understanding would endear the forsaken boy to me; would somehow wake me up from
the nightmare of vengence and retribution. But, like I said, it was too late for
me. Too many years of my life had been wrapped up in this bitter, twisted plan
and now I was livid; so incredibly angry that this child did not even merit a
single moment of remorse from the great admiral. I wanted to kill him. Oh no,
not the admiral--Tom. I wanted him dead that I should waste so much of my life
for a payoff that never came. I was the first visitor he had in prison. He was a
wreck--no favorite of the inmates already. His face was bruised and he looked
dazed. I wonder now if he even knew where he was. He apologized to me of course,
in that desperate, wild eyed way of his, begging my forgiveness for getting
caught, not understanding how it was that Starfleet was lying in wait for them;
knowing he had misread the sensors or the nav charts, promising when he was
released it would never happen again. Gods forgive me, Chakotay, but I hated
him. Hated him for living; for pleading with me; for surviving his miserable,
god foresaken life when my son who'd had everything to live for was lying cold
in the ground. So I hit him. With every ounce of strength I had, I backhanded
Tom Paris and stood over him, waiting for the pain and the confusion to die down
and then I spoke to him. I said, 'You stupid, *stupid* boy! Don't you understand
*anything.* Are you as ignorant and worthless as you seem? Don't you understand
that this was planned from the start? That you have been a puppet; that you
haven't made a single, solitairy move on your own since you were a child?' And
he looked up at me with those haunted eyes of his and merely asked, 'Planned?'
And I told him everything, knowing, even then, he would never betray me by
revealing any of it, doing it just to be as cruel and hateful as I possibly
could. I told him his father killed my son and the only way I knew to make him
pay was to take his son in kind. And I watched the understanding dawn in his
face; watched him swallow the bile in his throat, and I laughed at him. I
laughed at him and said every time I touched him I wanted to vomit; that talking
to him and petting him and telling him what a brilliant and able pilot he was
had made me physically ill more times than I cared to count. I belittled him as
best I could, watching his internal disintigration with sick joy. He was shaking
like a man in shock, and I suppose he was, although there was a kind of relief
to him--like the other shoe had finally dropped and there was no more waiting
for it. I watched him stand and back up several paces from me. And when he
looked into my eyes, I knew I'd succeeded. There was nothing looking back at me.
He was as dead and lifeless inside as he would be if I'd actually cut his heart
out and impaled it on a stick. He shook his head sadly and for a moment; a brief
moment, his face flooded with sympathy and he said to me, 'Oh Begay, I could
have told you that hurting me wouldn't have put a dent in him.' And then he
simply wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth, turned away and called for
the guard to return him to his cell. That's the end, my friend. I kept tabs for
awhile, atrociously amused to hear of a beating or a rules infraction.
Disgustingly safe from any retribution because he'd have to be alive for that
and I had effectively killed him. But time passed. I no longer had my brilliant
scheme to occupy my time, so I was left alone with my thoughts, with the shame
of the spirits swirling in my wake. Aaron began visiting me in my dreams, his
hurt and regret at my actions disturbing the peace he deserved. He pleaded with
me nightly to make this right; to undo what I had done. I resisted at first; I
tried to explain to him the terrible injustice he'd suffered and how someone had
to pay for it. And he reminded me that if there was an injustice, it was his to
address; and making this poor, lonely boy his scapegoat was a far worse travesty
of justice than any he'd been made to suffer. I was so ashamed that my son; the
boy I'd sworn to guide to manhood, to whom I'd pledged my wisdom and experience;
that my son should be teaching me the very basics of decency was the shove I
needed. I placed a call to a sympethyizer in the Starfleet high command. A
person who was well aware of the baggage Tom Paris carried--and of who was most
responsible. This person, unencumbered by Admiral Paris' power and position, was
encouraged to give young Paris a second chance on a starship chasing Maquis in
the Badlands, and so he was recruited to fly the USS Voyager. I thought perhaps
my debt was paid, but I see now it was not enough. Tom Paris is doomed to be
accepted nowhere--suspected in his ranks, disparaged by his enemies; respected
nowhere. And for what, Chakotay? For believing once in his bleary, ravaged life
that someone might possibly care what happens to him; might encourage him and
applaud him. I realize now, my son got off easy. He was *lucky* Chakotay. He
merely lost his life. Young Tom Paris has lost his soul and *that* is a tragedy
from which he may never recover. Remember these things, Chakotay. When you pass
your judgements and condemn an enemy, be advised to know what is true and not
what appears to be. Remember Tom Paris and imagine what it's like to walk
through life soulless. Remember and try, any way you can, to make right what was
so easily and mindlessly taken away." ======================================
Chakotay leaned back in his chair, feeling as if he'd just fought a physical
battle. He absentmindedly wiped the wetness from his cheeks, unable to believe
what he had just heard. That Tom Paris was functioning at all, much less busting
his ass to redeem himself as an officer was the most unbelievable thing Chakotay
ever witnessed. He shook his head at himself. What a fucking joke, thinking Tom
Paris needed *his* strength for anything. He had enough of his own to arm a
battalion. Chakotay removed the data clip from his computer, twirling it in his
hands and trying to pull together a coherent thought. It felt wrong to be privy
to such information without Tom's knowledge; yet somehow, the idea of further
traumatizing the lieutenant by exposing his secret life seemed cruel. There was
much to discuss with his spirit guide. She would know how he should proceed; she
knew what the spirits had in mind and why they had arranged this most elaborate
scheme to bring both Tom Paris and Chakotay to the precipice upon which they now
stood. ====================================== For Tom, there was no 'normal' for
life to settle back into following his illness. There was before and there was
now and the two were so different as to be lifetimes apart. Given the rather
overt fear most of the crewmembers exhibited in his presence, Tom had some
trouble reacclimating. The captain patiently explained how the virus entered
Tom's system through an open wound, and there was absolutey no risk of
contamination to the rest of the crew, but most people were not mollified. On
top of this was the confusing, almost stifling presence of Commander Chakotay
everywhere he turned. He'd wanted that attention for so long, yet now that he
had it, instead of being excited by it, he was scared to death. And who in the
hell could he talk to about it without being laughed out of the universe. He was
probably imagining it anyway; probably the aftereffects of the virus and all the
drugs. Chakotay entered the mess for lunch one afternoon and noticed Tom sitting
at a table by himself, surrounded on all sides by empty tables. One half of the
mess was obviously over crowded with six and seven people cramming in to the
four person tables. Tom's face was a perfect mask of pleased concentration. No
anger, no rejection or hurt, just simple interest in the colorful meal on his
plate. Chakotay on the other hand wanted to clear the place; order a stand down
so the ignorant, hurtful crew could think about their actions and their effect
on others. That, of course, would be no service to Tom Paris, but it sure as
hell would make him feel better. "Mind if I join you?" Chakotay asked loudly,
slamming his tray down on Tom's table. Tom looked up at him, lifting a cool
brow. "Feeling wreckless, Commander?" he asked. Chakotay shook his head in
disgust. "People can be really stupid, Lieutenant," he said. Tom shrugged. "I've
always had a knack for clearing a room," he said wryly. "Or half of it anyway."
Chakotay shrugged too. What else was there to say? Tom smeared the food around
on his plate and watched Chakotay do the same after trying a few bites. Tom
shrugged at the commander's questioning stare. "I'd sooner puke than put any
more of this in my mouth but I am *not* letting them win," he said defiantly.
"Hell, I'm still off duty for another two days; I can sit here all fucking night
if I want to." Chakotay tried not to smile, feeling a peverse kind of pride at
the lieutenant's contempt. He had an inkling it was just that kind of rebellious
resolve that allowed the man to survive prison. The commander made a face,
"Yeah, if the fumes don't kill you first," he said. Tom smirked. "I've got
enough replicator rations for a great Chinese meal. What do you say,
Lieutenant?" Tom's ever present guard came up a few notches. "I've got the
rations, Commander," he said. "It's the principle of the thing. I have just as
much of a right to be here as they do." "Hell, Lieutenant, the best revenge is
knowing they're stuck here eating this shit." Tom shook his head. "I won't let
them win," he said, staring at his plate. Chakotay didn't press it, instead he
offered another idea. He was not too sure about it, but his spirit guide was not
forthcoming with any clarity and he felt compelled to search for it on his own.
"Well then, since you won't be receiving any nourishment from this meal, why
don't you join me for dinner in my quarters." Chakotay's heart was pounding and
he inwardly rolled his eyes at his adolescent excitement. Tom swallowed hard,
tired of trying to figure out what was going on; tired of acting like his
feelings weren't hurt; tired of spending the days all alone. He shrugged
casually and bit his lower lip, finally managing a slight shrug of acquiescence.
Chakotay smiled and squeezed Tom's hand, right there in the mess for all to see.
"Great, Lieutenant." He looked sheepish and corrected himself. "Tom. I'll see
you at 1800 hours." With a congenial wink, he dumped his tray and walked out of
the mess, a most uncharacteristic spring in his step. Tom lingered in the mess
hall until most of the crew returned to duty. Gods, why could they hurt him? Why
did any of it matter to him *still,* he wondered angrily. It was enough, wasn't
it, that the captain had come to trust him; that Harry and B'Elanna tolerated
him. Why would he expect anything more? With a shrug, Tom cleared his table and
made his way back to his quarters. It was exhausting having to keep up the
uncaring front and he needed to sleep. Besides, he couldn't think right now and
he needed to think if he was going to make sense of Chakotay's sudden interest,
not to mention his dinner invitation.

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. =========================================================================
PART 4 CHAPTER ONE (cont'd) Five hours later, his stomach grumbling insistently,
Tom Paris walked to Chakotay’s quarters. He was wearing a pair of loose fitting
slacks--although given his recent weight loss, all of his clothes were loose
fitting--and a heavy sweater. Ever since he’d been sick, he was cold everywhere
except his own quarters. It was like the virus has damaged his internal
temperature guage or something. For some inexplicable reason, Tom was nervous.
He couldn’t place it, except maybe he kept waiting for the commander to name his
terms. Tom wondered what Chakotay would demand for his silence. The sane,
rational side of Tom Paris knew the commander wasn’t like that; knew Chakotay’s
integrity was above reproach; that his word was his bond. But the other side of
Tom Paris; the one who laid curled in a fetal ball while lash after lash was
laid on his eight-year old body, that Tom Paris knew there was a price for
everything, and it was only a matter of time until you were called on to pay up.
Oh well, might as well enjoy the free dinner anyway. He wrang at the commanders’
door and felt his heart jump skip at Chakotay’s confident, ‘Come.’ The door
opened and Tom hesitently stepped inside. The first thing he noticed was
Chakotay, dressed in tan pants and a bright blue shirt that, coincidentally?,
matched Tom Paris’ icy blue eyes. He was standing close enough that Tom could
smell his freshly showered scent, a soapy, musky odor that embarrassed him to
even notice. ‘I’m glad you’re here,’ Chakotay said, stepping back and
encouraging Tom to enter further. Chakotay recognized Tom’s trepidation and he
was silent for a moment, allowing the lieutenant to ease into this most unusual
arrangement. Chakotay’s quarters were larger than his, naturally, and he looked
around with interest. The outer room was spotlessly neat, but Tom was surprised
when he peeked in the bedroom and discovered it was messy. The bed was unmade
and several worn uniforms were strewn about the floor. ‘My dirty little secret,
Lieutenant,’ Chakotay said with a grin. ‘Sometimes I feel like I’ve given up
everything Maquis. This is my own private rebellion in here.’ Tom chuckled,
oddly pleased at sharing the little secret. ‘At least you won’t do time for it,
Commander,’ he said, Chakotay walked over to the replicator. ‘How does Vegetable
Lo Mein with Egg Rolls sound?’ ‘Spicy,’ Tom said happily. ‘After two days of
nothing but soup and toast it sounds great.’ ‘Sure it’s not too spicy?’ Chakotay
asked. Tom shrugged and grinned. ‘You’re the one feeling daring today,
Commander.’ Chakotay ordered the food and carried it over to the table, which
had been immaculately set. Tom touched his wine glass and looked at the
flickering candles and felt slightly overwhelmed. Chakotay poured a Chardonnay,
then smoothly took his place across from Tom. He offered his glass in a silent
toast and took a sip. ‘As far as replicated synthehol goes, I’ve had worse.’ Tom
grinned suddenly. ‘Have you had one of B’Elanna’s Klingon k’ytchee’s?’ ‘She
tried,’ Chakotay admitted, ‘But as soon as I saw something moving in the glass,
I was out of there.’ Tom laughed and felt a little of the tension drain from his
shoulders. ‘I told Harry they used Molvarian mice to spice up the liquor and he
nearly spit it out across the room.’ Chakotay shared his laughter. ‘Of course,
if you’ve ever been to a Klingon banquet, you’d know that’s not too far from the
truth.’ Tom’s nose wrinkled in disgust. ‘Gods....Of course, I supposed they look
at most of what we eat and think we’re nuts too. I mean, whoever heard of making
soup out of tomatoes?’ ‘Or a sandwich spread out of peanuts?’ Chakotay offered.
‘We terrans *must* be crazy, huh?’ They both laughed again, and settled in to
enjoy the fine meal. It turned out to be a very pleasant evening. Chakotay was
surprised to learn he and Tom Paris had very similar temperaments. In a setting
where arrogance and bravado weren’t needed as defense mechanisms, Tom was quiet;
almost shy. Chakotay discovered he was a voracious reader, consuming as many as
four or five books a week. Chakotay teased him about finding the time to read,
given the hours he spent at Sandrine’s. Tom blushed and shrugged and said he
rarely slept more than five hours a night, so there was plenty of time to read
and draw, another favorite pasttime. It made for a poignant image in Chakotay’s
mind--that of a lonely tow headed, blue-eyed boy, alone in his room, drawing
pictures and coloring with crayons. After dinner, Chakotay quickly cleared the
table and asked Tom to take a seat on the couch. His manner became more formal
and with a swooping pal of dread, Tom knew they were coming to the real reason
he’d been invited for dinner. It had been so nice for a moment, he thought
wisfullly, before admonishing himself that a moment would simply have to be
enough. He swallowed hard and waited. Chakotay sat down in the chair catty
corner to the lieutenant. He’d changed his mind too many times to count through
the course of the meal. It was going so well; Tom seemed to be having such a
genuinely nice time, he hated to ruin it. Things were progressing much more
quickly than he dared hope and he knew dropping this bombshell would put
‘things’ on an indefinite hold, which, when he thought about it, was a pretty
crappy reason for keeping Tom in the dark. Chakotay took the dataclip out of his
pocket and played with it for a moment. Tom watched in confusion, becoming very
still when Chakotay leaned forward and placed the clip on the table and pushed
it toward him. ‘You said something when you were sick,’ Chakotay began, trying
to make his voice as gentle as possible. ‘You mentioned a ‘Begay,’ and I
remembered something that happened shortly before we were stranded in the Delta
Quadrant.’ Tom’s face lost all color and his eyes darted for the door as if
checking out a means of escape. Chakotay sighed, not knowing how to put the
lieutenant at ease. ‘Joseph Begay gave me this clip with instructions to play it
and right his wrongs after he died. I thought him a silly old man, caught up in
the dramatic triumphs of his past, and I snatched the clip and forgot about it
until a few days ago.’ There was no reading Tom’s face now. It was completely
blank. Chakotay had no choice but to doggedly continue. ‘You’d quoted Begay
twice to me and I remembered the clip and the context in which it was given to
me and I made the decision to play it.’ Still no reaction from the motionless
lieutenant. He wasn’t even blinking. Chakotay took a deep breath. ‘He told me
everything. Right from the beginning all the way to your being offered a spot on
Voyager. He didn’t think it was enough to give you another chance in Starfleet;
he wants to somehow clear your reputation; make sure the truth is known by
everyone.’ ‘How much?’ Tom rasped, raising his tortured eyes to the Commander.
‘How much?’ Chakotay echoed, confused himself. ‘To keep quiet!’ Tom said
impatiently. ‘How much do you want? *What* do you want? Just name it and let’s
be done with this.’ ‘Tom, I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Chakotay
said, but Tom wasn’t listening. ‘Why didn’t you just come right out with it?’ he
complained. ‘Why pretend to be my friend. Act all nice and interested like you
care what I think about anything? You have the clip, what am I going to do but
pay up?’ ‘Tom, you don’t understand,’ Chakotay tried to say. ‘I’m not asking for
anything. I simply thought you should be aware...’ ‘Be aware of what?’ Tom
shouted, agitated. ‘That you hold all the power? That you could go public with
this anytime you want? Well it just stinks, Commander! He’s a great man and he
sure as hell doesn’t deserve to be slandered in public just because of what
happened to me!’ Chakotay was stunned--revolted to be more accurate. He stared
hard at Tom, trying with everything he could muster to understand why the
lieutenant would want to protect his bastard of a father. ‘Just because, Tom?’
he echoed incredulously. ‘Gods, Tom, he beat you. A defenseless little boy; the
one person in this life he is compelled to protect and nurture. He’s not a great
man, he’s a beast. Why in all the gods names would you want to preserve his
character?’ Tom blinked hard a couple of times; his face changing every few
words until finally understanding hit. ‘My father?’ he sputtered with his own
incredulity. ‘I don’t care if you hang that fucking bastard by his testicles on
Roshmahnnon square. I meant Begay. You let this out and you’ll destroy his
reputation and I won’t let that happen! Do you hear me? I won’t let it happen!’
It never occurred to Tom that he was raising his voice to a superior officer,
but then again, it never occurred to Chakotay either. ‘Tom, calm down,’ Chakotay
finally said, not an order, but simply a gentle request. ‘The clip is yours. The
call is yours to make. I just didn’t feel right knowing any of this without
telling you.’ Tom shook his head, more confused than he could remember. ‘I
don’t....I don’t understand what’s happening here,’ he whispered, picking up the
clip with shaking hands. ‘Tom, don’t you see?’ Chakotay said, leaning forward,
intensity burning in his dark eyes. ‘We’ve been linked from the
start--everything in our lives has been pushing us, shaping us, preparing us for
this moment. Life isn’t random, Tom. Things don’t just *happen*--it’s all been
leading us to this moment, right now. Here.’ ‘I’ve never had the luxery of
believing in anything *but* the randomness of the universe,’ Tom said hotly.
‘How can you say that, Tom?’ Chakotay asked. ‘The spirits have arranged
everything perfectly--left nothing to chance. It was all prearranged long ago.’
Tom jumped up from the couch, tears pooling in his eyes. ‘I won’t believe your
spirits!’ he shouted angrily. ‘Where were they when that fucker was pounding me
in to the ground! Where were your prescious fucking gods when he was burning me
and ridiculing me and telling me I was worthless and a mistake and a fucking
freak of nature? If I believe in them now, it means they were around back then
and they just fucking let him have at me! Well fuck ‘em! Fuck them all! All of
you!’ Chakotay could kick himself for the lack of insight. Gods, of course Tom
would see it that way. How typically arrogant of him to assume the way he viewed
something was the only way to see it. He had so much to learn. ‘Tom, please try
to calm down,’ Chakotay said. ‘You’re right. You’re absolutely right. I can’t
expect you to except any of this for my reasons. You don’t have to. But surely
you can see that...’ ‘I don’t see anything!’ Tom wailed. ‘I don’t....I don’t
understand why I’m here and why you’re telling me all of this and why....why I
feel the way I do every time you walk in to the room. I don’t understand any of
this!’ ‘I don’t know how to make it easier, Tom, or I would,’ Chakotay doggedly
continued. ‘I don’t know how to explain what I suddenly feel without scaring the
shit out of you. I just know that it’s right. That everything happening is meant
to happen. That I’m here for you and will be until you’re comfortable....’
‘Don’t say that!’ Tom hissed, fists clinched angrily at his side. ‘Don’t say
that because it’s a lie! You won’t always be here! You may stay for awhile and
then you’ll be gone like all the others and I’ll be left alone again! But it’s
not going to happen this time because I won’t believe it anymore!’ ‘I’m not
going anywhere,’ Chakotay said forcefully. ‘I don’t believe you!’ Tom shouted,
stumbling out from behind the table, moving toward the door. ‘I’m not leaving,
Tom,’ he repeated, blocking the lieutenant’s escape. ‘It’s a lie!’ Tom cried,
trying to go to one side, then the other, Chakotay’s broad shoulders providing
an inpenetrable blockade. Chakotay carefully held Tom’s shoulders in his big
beefy hands. ‘It’s the truth,’ he said; the serenity of his voice a marked
contrast to Tom’s baleful shrieks. ‘I won’t leave you,’ ‘No,’ Tom wailed.
‘Please, just let me go, it’s not safe, can’t you see.....’ With each excuse,
Chakotay pulled the kid closer and closer into an embrace, Tom allowed himself
to be drawn in, all the while offering fainter and fainter protests until he
gave a frantic cry of surrendor and fiercely locked his arms around Chakotay’s
neck, nearly choking off his air supply. Chakotay held the shivering young man
as tightly as he could, petting the back of his head and gently shushing his
frantic objections. He rocked Tom back and forth, and whispered little words of
comfort, using his tone, more than his words to lull the kid into a sense of
calm and safety. ‘I’ve got you now,’ Chakotay said. ‘I’ve got you and nothing
can hurt you when I’m here.’ When Tom calmed down enough to ease up on his
viselike grip around the commander, Chakotay sat them both down on the couch and
for awhile they remained very still and quiet with Tom gently resting his head
on the commander’s shoulder. ‘I still....I still don’t get it, Chakotay,’ Tom
whispered finally. Chakotay looked down, pleased that some color had made its
way back in to Tom’s face. ‘I’ve wanted....wanted to be with you for so long and
I just....I just assumed it would never happen and now I’m here, but I’m still
not sure if...if it’s what I thought....’ Chakotay smiled at Tom’s admission.
‘You wanted to be with me?’ he asked with such obvious delight both he and Tom
started to laugh. Tom shrugged shyly. ‘The first time I saw you I thought you
were the most beautiful person I’d ever seen. I couldn’t believe they made
someone as pretty as you.’ A flush of pleasure crept up Chakotay’s face; he
reached out and caressed Tom’s cheek, watching a similar flush darken the
lieutenant’s fair skin. He smiled as his thumb brushed across Tom’s soft lips,
then gently stroked his chin, anchoring the young lieutenant’s eyes on his.
Chakotay leaned in closer, watching Tom’s eyes dance with confusion,
understanding and want. Very gently, very softly, in the voice he would use to
tame a frightened animal, Chakotay whispered, ‘May I kiss you, Tom Paris?’
Speechless, unnerved by the careening, out-of-control pulsing of his heart, Tom
Paris nodded. Chakotay’s lips covered the young lieutenant’s for a kiss so
tender it left them both in tears. Chakotay pulled back, then gently kissed away
the tear on Tom’s cheek. ‘I don’t know how to do this,’ Tom said, staring up at
Chakotay with wide eyes. With a beautiful smile, Chakotay kissed him again,
slipping his tongue between the surprised lieutenant’s lips. A surge of emotion
Chakotay felt as heat burst forth from the younger man, so he deepened the kiss,
sliding his hand down Tom’s side, coming around toward the front to squeeze his
erection. It was too much. Tom yelped and jumped back, looking frightened but
somehow, with swollen lips and flushed face, incredibly beautiful. Chakotay
hastened to apologize, but Tom shook his head. ‘No, Commander, you don’t
understand,’ he said. ‘It’s just that I....well, I’ve never done this before.’
‘With a man?’ Chakotay asked, unable to hide his pleasure at being the first.
Tom painfully shook his head, face coloring in embarrassement. He gruffly
cleared his throat and forced himself to meet Chakotay’s curious gaze.
‘Never....ever,’ he said quietly. No chance of keeping the stunned disbelief
from his face. Chakotay’s eyes widened in surprise. ‘Shit, Tom, I had no idea.
Gods, I’m so sorry, you must think I’m some kind of brute. Jeez, I just....I had
no idea....’ Tom shrugged. ‘I never....I mean, Begay sometimes made
know, do things, but I didn’t....I didn’t want to and in prison some of the
prisoners used to...try stuff, but there’s the scars and then, then there’s
worse ones....worse ones know down there and and I
couldn’t...couldn’t let anyone know, so it just....’ Chakotay slid his hand into
Tom’s and brought it to his lips. ‘I know, Tom,’ he said gently. ‘About
everything. I saw the scars when you were sick, and I should have
realized....It’s way too soon for this.’ Tom gave Chakotay a curious look. ‘You
saw them?’ he asked. ‘And you weren’t like.... completely revolted?’ Heaving a
sensual sigh, Chakotay shook his head. ‘Tom, the last thing I feel right now is
revolted,’ he whispered, bringing Tom’s hand down to brush against his straining
erection. He kissed Tom again, careful not to be overly forceful, but knowing
Tom needed to understand how real his desires were. ‘I want you, Tom,’ he
whispered, ‘Gods, I want you so badly my ears are ringing. But we need to take
it slow. Need to wait for the right time. And I’m not going anywhere, so believe
me when I say, I’ve got all the time in the universe.’ With a smile of relief,
Tom reached up to recapture Chakotay’s mouth, and like two teenagers, they
necked until the early hours of the morning. = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = To anyone working with them on the bridge,
there had been an obvious thaw in the formerly icy relationship between Tom
Paris and Commander Chakotay, but no more than that. It was actually Tom who
shyly requested they keep things under wraps for awhile. He assumed Chakotay
would prefer it that way and was surprised when the commander was taken aback by
the assumption. ‘I’m not ashamed of you!’ he said indignantly. ‘Gods, Tom, I
can’t believe a beautiful young guy like you would look twice at an old man like
me!’ ‘You’re not old,’ Tom scolded. ‘It’s’s a lot to deal with all of
a sudden without wondering what everyone else thinks is happening....No one will
understand your wanting to be with me.’ ‘Then they’re blind,’ Chakotay had
whispered, drawing Tom into a tight clinch. For Tom, it was all new and
wonderful and as long as he was with the commander, he could enjoy every
thundering beat of his heart. When he was alone, though, he was more agitated
and unnerved than he had been in years. It was nothing short of crazy to risk
this kind of involvement when he knew full well it was only temporary. Chakotay
would tire of him and then where would he be? Gods, he wouldn’t survive it; he
knew he wouldn’t. Too much had happened; too many injuries; too many wounds both
physical and mental. He had no more reserves to call from; if he let himself get
in too deep, when it blew up in his face, he’d be done for. But then Chakotay
would call or stop by and Tom’s heart lept to his throat and he knew a kind of
peaceful happiness more addictive than any drug he could imagine. They spent
most evenings in Chakotay’s quarters with Tom’s impressive collection of data
clips providing hours of entertainment. They listened to music while Chakotay
finished the day’s data work and Tom made up ever more fantastic excuses for not
going out to Sandrine’s. Many nights they cuddled together on the couch while
Chakotay read aloud from one of Tom’s favorite books. The older man was
astounded by the poetic, romantic side of the swaggering fly boy, impressed as
hell by his literary insight, not to mention his photographic memory. Tom had
only to see or hear something once to have total recall of it later. He pulled
it out like a parlor trick to amuse Chakotay who never failed to marvel.
Oftentimes, the story they were reading reminded Chakotay of a legend he was
told as a child and he recounted the story for Tom who exhibited a growing
curiosity about Chakotay’s Native American culture. Tom worried far more than
Chakotay about their stalled attempts at intimacy--though it was Chakotay taking
his fair share of cold showers. Tom was fine with kissing as long as it wasn’t
too intense; he enjoyed lying together on the couch and Chakotay’s affectionate
hugs and caresses when they lounged together. But any time Chakotay’s hands
started roving, any time he tried to skim beneath Tom’s shirt or the waistband
of his pants, the lieutenant froze. He always flashed on the idea that he’d be
alone soon. He could not allow himself to forget the temporary nature of this
happiness. He’d already invested far too much of himself--so much so that he
wondered if he wasn’t done for already. Some remaining shred of
self-preservation made him retreat from losing any more of himself in the
forceful, charismatic first officer. He knew it wasn’t fair to Chakotay, who
seemed to think it was only a matter of time until this last vestige of the
lieutenant was opened to him as well. Tom had to admit, it *was* getting harder
to resist. Chakotay’s probing tongue and roaming hands were starting to feel so
right; so....necessary, that Tom was often tempted to give in. But no sooner had
his resolve weakened than his dreams became increasingly disturbed. Afraid
Chakotay would take them as an ominous sign, Tom did not say anything, but the
commander knew something was wrong. Of late, Tom and Chakotay had been spending
the night in Chakotay’s bed, chastely retiring in boxers and t-shirts with
Chakotay’s arm slung loosely over his shoulder. Suddenly, Tom kept finding
excuses to return to his own quarters after their quietly pleasant evenings
together. Chakotay had promised not to push the kid, but he found himself, not
so much impatient as eager and it was harder than he could imagine to kiss Tom
goodnight at the door and make the slow, lonely journey back to his room.

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. =========================================================================
PART 5 CHAPTER TWO Tom woke with a scream, catapulting himself from the bed, and
slamming into the wall on the far end of his room. He curled up in a fetal ball,
desperately shielding himself from the blows to come. ‘Paris to Chakotay!’ he
shouted. ‘Please Chakotay! Please answer!’ Where was the bad man? Why did he not
strike back? Retribution was swift and painful. It was a lesson set in stone;
set in the permanent welts on his back. ‘Tom?’ Chakotay’s voice; scratchy with
sleep and confusion. ‘Please, please come,’ Tom whispered. ‘Oh gods, please
come.’ ‘On my way,’ said Chakotay, sounding as if he were running already. Tom
crawled to the far corner of his bedroom, too afraid to order the lights up,
praying that perhaps in the darkness, the bad man would be temporarily thwarted.
Chakotay reached the lieutenant’s quarters at a full run and found it locked.
‘Tom,’ he called in a low voice. ‘Tom, it’s Chakotay. Let me in.’ Silence.
Chakotay tried Tom’s level one security code but it didn’t work. He heard in his
head Tom’s utterly terrified summons. ‘Shit,’ he spat, damning the override that
would show up in the morning logs. ‘Computer, disengage security lock. Authorize
Chakotay Sigma Eta 12.’ The door beeped and serenely opened. Chakotay rushed in
to total darkness, colliding with a chair Tom had haphazardly pushed into the
door’s pathway. Swearing under his breath, Chakotay barked, ‘Computer, lights
on.’ Full illumination made Chakotay flinch and turn his head. And there, pushed
as far into a corner as possible was Tom--naked, shivering, eyes closed as if by
not seeing, he could not be seen. In slow motion, Chakotay pulled the covers
from the bed and cautiously approached the young man. ‘I’m here, Tom,’ he said
soothingly as he knelt and held out the blanket, as if drawing a child from his
bath. Tom’s head shot up and he turned his wild, unfocused eyes towards
Chakotay’s voice. Chakotay’s breath caught in his throat, seeing in Tom’s face
every war orphan he’d ever witnessed--those he often feared he had made. The
lieutenant focused, recognized, and let loose with the single most agonizing
wail of torment the big man could ever imagine. Its sound filled the cabin,
circled him, set his hair on end and abraded his back like the fingernails of a
Haldashian. Tom scrambled into his arms, throwing his own arms so tightly around
Chakotay’s neck that the breath was knocked from him. ‘I’m here, Tom,’ Chakotay
said, his voice raised to be heard above the shrieking. ‘I’m right here and
nothing can hurt you now. You’re safe, Tom. You’re safe.’ Tom’s screams ended in
a moan that eventually gave way to wracking sobs. He buried his head in
Chakotay’s shoulder and wept, the frenzied, hysterical cry of a broken man.
Chakotay’s own chest ached at the barren, painful sounds from Tom’s raw throat.
‘I don’t care,’ Tom moaned. ‘I don’t care that you’ll leave; I don’t care that
you’ll hate me, I can’t ....I don’t.....I need you. Oh gods help me, but I need
you. I can’t be alone anymore. I can’t do it, please Chakotay. I don’t care that
it’s just for now, do you hear? I don’t care!’ Chakotay’s strong arms tightened
around the still shivering young man. ‘Hush,’ soothed Chakotay, and began to
gently rock the lieutenant. ‘Now what’s this all about, Tom? Tell me what’s
wrong.’ A terrible shudder shook Tom. He burrowed closer for warmth and comfort.
He briefly shook his head, as if he were going to refuse to answer. He tightened
his own arms, clinging desperately to Chakotay. He nuzzled the big man’s neck,
his familiar musky scent further relaxing his frayed nerves. ‘Oh, Chakotay, it
was so real. The dream. It was so real, and I woke up and now I’m not sure what
was real and what wasn’t. What if....what if what I remember isn’t what
happened? Or what I’m dreaming is somehow changing the present.
It’s all so....I just....I’m so confused.....’ Chakotay kissed Tom’s cheek, and
continued gently combing his fingers through the soft, blond hair. ‘Nothing can
hurt you now,’ he reminded. ‘I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.’ Tom’s
breathing was almost back to normal. ‘But what if..... what if I’m hurting
someone? I don’t.....I don’t want to....’ Chakotay felt the wetness from Tom’s
tears on his neck. Reflexively tightening his gripped, he kissed the young man
again. ‘Hold on, Tom. Let’s start with the dream. Why don’t you tell me what
happened.’ Tom nodded dutifully but was silent for a moment. ‘I
want....the....can we....’ he sighed in frustration, then gruffly cleared his
throat. ‘Not on the floor,’ he finally whispered. ‘Not like this.’ Chakotay
understood. He stood up, helping a shaky Tom to his feet as well. Never taking
his strong arms from around the younger man, he repositioned them both on the
couch, drawing the blankets closer around Tom to try and stave off the
shivering. ‘Please talk to me, Tom,’ Chakotay whispered. ‘I’ll do anything I can
to help you. To make this better.’ Tom nodded again, gravely this time, and
pulled back to look up at Chakotay with eyes like blue ice. ‘I have to ask you
something,’ he said, his own hushed voice adding to the air of intimacy. ‘You
won’ won’t like it.’ ‘You can ask me anything,’ Chakotay said, hurt at
Tom’s lack of faith. Grimacing in disbelief, Tom slightly shook his head. ‘It’s
about your....your spirit guide. I need to know....’ he sighed, but forced his
eyes back to Chakotay’s dark coals. ‘Is she a timbre wolf?’ The blood
in Chakotay’s veins turned cold and drained from his face. It congealed in a
frenzied mass in his stomach. Tom felt him stiffen and pull away and he nearly
doubled over in pain. Why had he been so stupid? Why couldn’t he just leave well
enough alone? ‘How could you know that?’ Chakotay asked in breathless
incredulity. ‘No one could .... no one....’ He fiercely gripped Tom’s shoulders
and shook the young man in his confusion. ‘How do you know that?’ he growled.
Tom’s face paled even further; his skin turning a frightening, colorless gray.
‘I’m sorry,’ he managed to rasp; his entire body crumpling in terror. ‘I’m
sorry, please don’t....don’t go away just yet, I’m sorry, Chakotay, I
should....I should know better, but I got scared and then I thought....well, I
thought, but I shouldn’t and, please, I’m sorry....’ The fearful groveling,
brought Chakotay out of his daze. Blinking rapidly, he wrapped his arms around
Tom, rocking him again with a calming, soothing, motion. ‘Oh, Tom, no, honey,
I’m not angry,’ he said in a soft, careful voice. ‘I’m just....I’m just
surprised is all. Stunned. There’s no way you could know that and yet.....and
yet you do. Tell’ Tom let himself be rocked for a while longer,
enjoying the warmth and safety found in Chakotay’s arms. Finally, he took a
deep, cleansing breath and began to speak. ‘It was the same dream as always. I’m
in my room and I know he’s coming for me. I’m trying not to think about it,
trying not to be scared, knowing he....knowing he wants me to be scared by the
time he comes in....and then.....and then he’s there, on top of me and he’s
hitting me with his fist and he’s.....he’s slamming my head in the floor and I
keep thinking--I keep thinking, he’ll kill me soon. I’ll be dead and then he
can’t hurt me anymore....But I don’t die and he just keeps hitting and kicking
and....and, well, you know, it’s the same dream as always, except this
time.....this time, I’m on the ground and I’m looking up at him and he’s so
fucking crazy, Chakotay, his eyes are just so... so demented and he’s....he’s
laughing, like some kind of fucking psycho and all of a sudden, out of....out of
no where, there’s this.....this roar, like a wild animal and suddenly
he’s screaming and this beautiful--oh gods, Chakotay, she’s so incredibly
beautiful--this wolf jumps at him and she’s--she’s at his neck and he’s
screaming and she’s growling and I can’t....I can’t move. I hear this fierce
battle going on and then it was quiet. Oh, it was so quiet--like when the red
alert finally goes off and you can hear a pin drop. And I wanted to look and see
what had happened, but I was so tired, I just--I just wanted to sleep
and-and-and to forget. And then the wolf, she came to me, and she curled up next
to me and put her head on my chest and....and it was so nice. I wanted it to
last forever.’ Chakotay smiled and kissed Tom’s soft hair. ‘What’s so bad about
that?’ he asked. ‘I think it sounds beautiful.’ ‘But he wasn’t dead, Chakotay.
It was quiet and so peaceful, a kind of peace I’ve never known, not ever.’ Tom
started to shake again, his voice began to quiver. ‘And I...I made the mistake
of thinking everything would be okay, and I....I reached out to pet her....I
just.....I just wanted to touch her, and I reached my hand out and...’ It was
becoming difficult to understand him. Chakotay held his breath, willing the
young man to get the story out. ‘He....he screamed--he was on top of us and he
had a knife and he....he stabbed her!’ Tom was sobbing now, moaning in an almost
physical pain. ‘Oh gods, he stabbed her over and over again and she was...she
was baying with....with rage and-and pain, and he just kept laughing and
thrusting the knife in over and over and over.....and I couldn’t stop it and it
was my fault and I killed her, don’t you see, I killed her!’ ‘That’s enough!’
Chakotay said, his own voice strangled with emotion. He fiercely held Tom to his
warm body, trying to will away the residual dread and fear. He wished he could
tell Tom it didn’t mean anything; wished he could banish the terror with a
simple word or caress; but it didn’t work like that in his culture. He grew up
with people who knew the power of dreams; who believed in their ability to
harmonize oneself to the past, as well as predict the future. His people
accepted dreams as the harbinger of both good fortune and of impending doom.
Until Chakotay knew precisely what this dream was trying to tell them, there
could be no discounting the violent visions. ‘I don’t....I don’t know what this
means, Tom, but I....’ ‘I do!’ Tom said, burying his head for a moment before
pulling back to look at Chakotay. ‘It means that getting involved with me is
only going to hurt you; like I’ve hurt everyone else! Don’t you see--I’m no
good, Chakotay! I’m only going to bring your trouble!’ ‘That’s your father
talking,’ Chakotay said as civilly as possible. Even thinking about that
monstrosity made him want to retch, though he knew he had to tread lightly, lest
Tom misinterpret that disgust as directed toward him. ‘This dream could be
telling us many things and it would be arrogant and irresponsible for us to jump
to the first and most obvious conclusion.’ Tom shuddered, but the words seemed
to provide an element of calm. ‘I can’t....Chakotay, if something were to happen
to you, I....I wouldn’t survive it. I know that sounds stupid, or-or
melodramatic, but it’s the truth. If being with me means that....that something
bad’s going to happen, I just can’t....’ Chakotay was ashamed by the thrilling
rush of power following the realization that it was, indeed, true. Tom wouldn’t
survive his loss. It was a disconcerting and wholly exhilarating thought.
‘Hush,’ Chakotay soothed, guiltily shifting Tom away from his growing erection.
‘Tom, I...I care for you too much to believe that the spirits want us kept
apart. I wouldn’t feel like this; I *couldn’t* if it weren’t right. The dream
means something else; I know it does. And tomorrow I’ll talk to my spirit guide
and see if she can’t give us a hand.’ Chakotay smiled as Tom relaxed fully
against his chest; the tension finally drained from his weary bones. ‘You sound
so sure,’ Tom said sleepily. ‘Because I am,’ Chakotay said, with more certainty
than he actually felt. He nudged Tom up from the couch. ‘Now off to bed with
you, mister,’ he said with the gentle, teasing tone used to dismiss a child.
Tom, unwilling to break his hold on the big man, waited for Chakotay to rise.
‘Will you...will you stay with me?’ he asked, in a voice so quiet, Chakotay had
to lean forward to catch it. ‘Of course,’ said the commander and was rewarded
with a small, barely discernible smile. He felt tears cloud his eyes at Tom’s
grateful embrace. He replaced the blankets on the bed and got Tom settled under
the sheets. He quietly removed his clothes and folded them neatly on a chair
before ordering the lights off. Carefully, he climbed into bed, spooning Tom
from behind. ‘Hold me....hold me really tight, okay?’ Tom whispered. Chakotay
could only manage a grunt of assent. He slid one hand under the young
lieutenant, laid the other over his shoulder and drew Tom tightly against his
chest. He felt the raised welts on Tom’s back and wondered if it was the
awareness of that, or of his fully erect penis against the cleft of Tom’s ass
that sent a startled shiver through the young man. Chakotay kissed the nape of
Tom’s neck and whispered, ‘Everything’s okay, Tom. I’m here and nothing’s going
to hurt you as long as I’m with you.’ It wasn’t in his power to guarantee such a
promise, but it was what Tom needed, and perhaps that was more important. The
young lieutenant heaved a sigh and by then end of the exhale fell into an
exhausted, much needed sleep.

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. =========================================================================
(cont'd) As usual, Chakotay awoke a full hour before his alarm was due to sound.
Feeling the warm body beneath him, he knew he wasn’t alone and opening his eyes,
he knew he wasn’t in his quarters. Then he remembered Tom’s urgent midnight call
and his terrified reaction to the dream. Chakotay slowly shook his head. He had
never heard of one’s spirit guide jumping into another’s subconscious. He
wished, as he did nearly every day, that he could speak to his father. And if
not his father, one of his people’s shaman. It was easy enough to interpret
Tom’s wish to be protected; even easier to understand his seeing Chakotay as
that protector. But to envision his spirit guide--well, that was something else
entirely. Chakotay sighed. Was it such a stretch, he reasoned, for Tom to
perceive his spirit guide? The actual form was not such a mystery--perhaps
something in his demeanor or in his aura gave rise to the form his spirit animal
took. Still, Chakotay was not raised to believe in coincidences, certainly not
where dreams were concerned. The big man shrugged his shoulders philosophically.
It was pointless to lay there ruminating when clarity would only be found with
his spirit guide. Instead, he took advantage of the moment to pull away from Tom
and reclaim his dormant arm. Tom made a slightly distressed sound and rolled to
his back. Chakotay pushed up to his elbow and watched Tom sleep; a gentle smile
curling his lips. The kid was beautiful when he slept; then only time when he
seemed remotely at peace. He laid his hand on Tom’s chest, feeling the soft
downy fuzz as his lungs expanded and contracted. Chakotay grinned ruefully at
the rushing warmth of pleasure he felt witnessing so rudimentary an act. The
smile faded as he wondered how Tom would feel about waking up in
bed--naked--together. Uncomfortable? Embarrassed? Chakotay thought briefly about
leaving, but rightly assumed the young man would read the departure as
abandonment. Tom stirred again, eyebrows drawing in confusion at his sudden
unfettered arrangement. His eyes fluttered open and any concern Chakotay felt
over his reaction evaporated at the slow, shy smile that crept across the
lieutenant’s features. It was one of his rare, beautiful smiles making it all
the way to his pretty blue eyes, lightening his features and made him look like
a little kid. Chakotay found his own smile matching Tom’s. ‘Morning,’ he said in
a low voice. ‘Morning,’ Tom said, parroting Chakotay’s tone more than expressing
a sentiment of his own. His eyes bored into the commander’s looking for an
answer to a question he was too afraid to ask. Chakotay stared back for a beat,
then two. Very slowly, allowing Tom every opportunity to turn away or pull back,
Chakotay ducked his head until his lips softly, cautiously, covered Tom’s. Tom
immediately opened his mouth; and Chakotay carefully deepened the kiss, inviting
Tom’s tongue into his mouth, exploring Tom’s mouth with his. Chakotay pressed
himself further upon the young man; his mouth became more insistent and his
hands began to explore. He shifted his weight so that their erections could
press against one another, sending shocking waves of erotic pleasure up and down
Tom’s spine every time they met. ‘Oh gods,’ Tom whispered into Chakotay’s mouth,
gasping again as the commander’s hand found his nipple and began, gently at
first, then with increasing roughness, to pinch and caress. Finally breaking
from Tom’s mouth, Chakotay panted with months of pent up desire. ‘Anytime it
gets to be too much for you, we stop.’ he said, wondering if he had the strength
to back up his words. ‘Gods, don’t talk,’ Tom moaned, reaching up to recapture
Chakotay’s mouth. ‘I need this...gods, I want this so bad.’ Chakotay grinned
lasciviously and licked his lips. ‘Then pay attention, Hot Shot, ‘cause there’s
going to be a test afterward.’ Tom’s laughter was stifled by the big man’s
hungry mouth. *Why had they waited so long,* he wondered before rational thought
suddenly exploded in a fireball behind his eyes. Chakotay had begun to massage
Tom’s penis. The big man winced in spite of himself at the feel of the puckered
burn marks. He quickly swallowed the black rage momentarily cloudeding his
vision. That miscreant was *not* going to ruin this, he vowed angrily. Tom’s
inarticulate cries and moans gave testament to his growing excitement at each
caress, and the big man intensified the pressure, quickly recognizing and
repeating those touches that produced the most pleasure, shying away from those
that seemed to discomfort. Exploring every centimeter of the exquisite, young
physique with his eager mouth, Chakotay kissed his way down the length of Tom’s
body, until the younger man was writhing beneath him with unfulfilled desire.
Had he not feared Tom’s misunderstanding, Chakotay would have laughed aloud at
the sheer joy of loving so responsive a partner. He’d forgotten what unbridled
pleasure it was to offer up this physical manifestation; this concrete example
of feeling and desire. It was true what he had said to Tom earlier--there was
fucking and there was making love and the two were about as separate from one
another as you could get. Tom shouted with abandon when Chakotay removed his
hands and wrapped his mouth around his penis. The older man tried vainly to ease
Tom’s bucking hips, to forestall the inevitable, but he knew the first time
around, it was simply too intense to last very long. With a deafening cry of
shock, Tom shot his load. Chakotay swallowed hard and continued nipping and
siphoning, until Tom pulled away in a flash of self-preservation. Chakotay
laughed, smiling at Tom with such joy there was no room to misinterpret. He
leaned in and aggressively captured Tom’s mouth; the younger man shuddering at
the taste of himself on another man’s lips. Chakotay allowed himself to be a
little rougher and Tom responded in kind; each one’s response intensified and
returned to the other with a growing fervor that Chakotay found more exciting
than any encounter he could remember. Tom’s lips tore loose from Chakotay’s to
explore behind his ear and down his neck; across his chest and then further
south. *The kid’s an excellent mimic,* Chakotay thought, as Tom began kissing
the same path the commander had followed on his body. Chakotay moaned at the
continued throbbing of his unsatisfied erection. *But a bit of a straggler.* He
grabbed the back of Tom’s head, shifted his hips and inserted his penis into the
startled man’s mouth. Chakotay shouted his delight and the sound reverberated in
Tom’s ears, energizing and encouraging him. He redoubled his efforts to please,
astounded at the guttural moans of pleasure emanating from the older man. He
used his teeth and tongue, exploiting his inexperience by trying anything and
everything that came to mind. Where his own cries were used as sign posts by the
more experienced man, there was no such direction offered now. Everything he did
was equally applauded and exclaimed over. There was no touch, no bite, no
offering that was not accepted with a frenzied, frantic shout of approval. It
was addictive and he fearfully felt himself loosing control. Chakotay seemed to
sense the growing chaos and reigned it in by furiously coming, bucking his hips
so wildly Tom thought he would suffocate. Dripping with sweat, exhausted, and
amazed, Chakotay pulled Tom to face him. The look of profound amazement on the
younger man’s face was a gift from the spirits, Chakotay thought, reverently
kissing the younger man’s forehead, and then his eyebrows, and his cheeks and
his chin. ‘Is it always like that?’ Tom asked, almost hating to break
the exquisite silence. Chakotay chuckled and raised his eyebrows. ‘Not on any
planet *I’ve* ever been,’ he said ruefully. ‘So I did okay, huh?’ Tom asked with
an almost cocky grin. The chuckle expanding to a full belly laugh, Chakotay
nodded. ‘Yeah, you did okay, Hot Shot.’ Tom blushed, sheepishly ducking his head
at Chakotay’s amused smile. ‘Thanks, Chakotay,’ he said, gently laying his head
on the big man’s chest. Chakotay held Tom close and kissed the pretty blond
hair. ‘Thank you,’ he said softly. Tom snuggled close as Chakotay’s hand softly
ran up and down his back. He felt as if he was being gently guided away from
himself and he slipped into a peaceful reverie. He came around when Chakotay’s
touch grew more purposeful. Tom felt first one finger, then another, enter him.
He started, simultaneously aware of Chakotay’s erection and the sudden
thundering of the big man’s heart. He looked up at Chakotay’s eyes, almost
embarrassed at the wanton look of lust in the commander’s flushed face. Chakotay
licked his lips, painfully pushing his pulsating sex against the younger man. ‘I
want to be inside you, Tom,’ he said in a low voice. Tom’s mouth felt dry. ‘I
think....I want that too,’ he rasped. Chakotay shuddered in unholy anticipation,
pulling Tom by the scruff of his neck to meet his mouth. ‘I don’t want to hurt
you,’ Chakotay panted between kisses, moaning as Tom’s roaming hands intensified
the ache in his groin. ‘But...but it’s not going to be....’ ‘Do it,’ Tom gasped
back, struggling for coherence in the face of Chakotay’s forceful mouth. ‘Oh
gods, I can’t....if you wait.....I mean, shit, do it!’ It was all the
encouragement Chakotay needed and he reacted by swiftly--violently--devouring
the man beneath him. Everywhere Chakotay put his mouth felt as if he left a ring
of fire in his wake. The sensations were stunning and frightening and
exhilarating, and Tom quickly gave up trying to catalog or remember one second
to the next. There was no miserable past or murky future; there was only each
individual passing instant; there was only the mouth encircling his nipple, the
all-encompassing body pressing unto his, the tortuous ache for release from his
tumescent sex. But then, suddenly, it was all gone. He was alone and the air was
cold and lonely. He gave a startled, panicked cry of surprise as Chakotay rose
from the bed. ‘Wh-what’s wrong,’ Tom asked in a voice that sounded like it
hadn’t been used for ages. Chakotay walked to the replicator, barked a command
and returned to the bed with lubricant. Tom took in the mirrored responses of
their bodies--both chests heaving, glistening with sweat, erections spitting
with unsatisfied need. Chakotay stood in front of the younger man, erotically
preparing himself for entry by thoroughly coating his engorged penis. Tom
watched in fascination, marveling at the size of the commander. He was really
big, Tom thought, allowing himself a moment of disquiet. Shit, he was just about
the biggest guy he’d ever seen, which is saying something when you considered
the crowded, communal showers of prison. What would it be like to have something
that huge inside you. What would it be like? Chakotay finished his task and
threw the lubricant on a bedside table, moving toward Tom with a predatory
growl. He pushed Tom back to a prone position and crawled on top of him,
hungrily kissing him and using his sticky fingers to coat Tom’s anus. The
stunning thrill of Chakotay’s fingers briefly entering then retreating was
enough to dispel any hesitation. ‘Hurry, Chakotay,’ he finally groaned. Chakotay
reacted with another growl, forcefully pushing Tom to his stomach and
positioning his penis at the younger man’s cleft. ‘If you want to stop, we
will,’ Chakotay said, knowing full well this time it was a lie. But then, so, it
seemed, did Tom. ‘If you don’t fucking hurry, I’m going to explode!’ Tom huffed.
With a simple thrust of his hips, Chakotay began his entry. Tom gasped, shocked
at this most apalling invasion, and Chakotay halted. A few jagged breaths later,
the younger man nodded and Chakotay resumed his approach. Tom was impossibly
tight, making Chakotay’s progress slow and painful. It took Herculean self
control to refrain from slamming into the man with every gram of strength he
had. Gods, it was exquisite. Stopping periodically to let the kid accommodate
himself to the assault, Chakotay felt his heart sing with joy at his taking of
the young man’s virginity. He had never been on the receiving end of such a
gift, and the shameful thrill was almost--almost--overshadowed by the awareness
of tearing flesh, but there was no halting the onslaught now. Chakotay’s groans
and gasps echoed in the cabin, but there was no sound from the younger man--he
had stopped moaning, stopped writhing, stopped breathing, as the explosion of
pain and connection and submission warred for supremacy. And then suddenly,
Chakotay was still and the blinding light behind Tom’s eyes cleared and he came
back to himself. He took a huge, shuddering mouthful of air, becoming conscious
of Chakotay’s pelvis resting against the small of his back; extending that
awareness through his anus to his internal organs. Oh gods, this was it.
Chakotay was inside him; they were like one person; their hearts and lungs and
minds functioning as one sentient being, oh gods, the power! It was incredible.
Tom felt invincible and vulnerable; sated and unfulfilled; he felt as if
everything in the universe that had ever happened to him was leading to this
one, quintessential moment of oneness with the extraordinary man above him. From
deep within himself, he felt Chakotay’s great intake of air, and then the big
man began slowly rocking his hips. Tom gasped as if he’d been struck from
behind. ‘Uh, ahhhhh!’ he shouted, stunned there was more; that every sensation
had not already been discovered and spent. He shouted again when Chakotay
withdrew without warning, screaming even louder when he violently shoved himself
back in. It was relentless and awe-inspiring; the absence of him tragic; the
return a confusing mixture of relief and mind bending pain. Chakotay pounded
relentlessly into the young man; his heart flip flopping with the same
uncontrolled joy he’d felt at his first interplanetary flight. In and in, deeper
and deeper, harder and harder, he couldn’t have enough of the kid and what he
did get wasn’t coming fast enough. He wanted all of Tom--every breath, every
thought, every minute corner of his being he wanted for himself and he greedily
searched for the very soul of the fragile lieutenant. Tom’s heart was thundering
so loudly he feared Chakotay would tell him to shut up. It was starting to hurt
in his chest; he even started to wonder if it would leave some kind of tell tale
bruise on his chest cavity. That’s when Chakotay reached around and grabbed his
straining penis with both hands. Shit! He’d forgotten about it! Gods, how many
ways could Chakotay please him all at once? he thought incredulously, which in
turn made him wonder if he was doing enough to please Chakotay. Instinctively he
suddenly brought his own hands to the mattress beneath him, and waiting to
precisely match Chakotay’s lunge, forcefully straightened his arms, further
impaling himself on Chakotay’s swollen member. Bellowing in a shocked, strangled
voice, Chakotay exploded deep inside the young lieutenant, who reciprocated by
coming in a beautiful fountain over the hands of the older man. Chakotay jerked
his hips spasmodically, emptying himself inside Tom, wishing he could leave
behind some of the confidence and serenity his own easy childhood had
effortlessly left in its wake. Finally, he collapsed on top of the lieutenant,
murmuring vague, incoherent thank you’s into the nape of the young man’s neck.
They gasped in unison, enjoying every last, shuddering moment of the enormous
orgasm. Chakotay offered a silent, heartfelt prayer of thanks to the spirit
world for permitting such a joyous encounter. With a sated sigh, Chakotay
shifted his hips and started to withdraw, stopping only at Tom’s stifled cry of
distress. ‘Oh, don’t leave me, Chakotay,’ he whispered. ‘Please, please don’t
leave me....’ Chakotay kissed Tom’s cheek, having to concentrate to keep from
squeezing the life out of the young man. ‘Our journey is just beginning, Tom,’
he said finally. With a sob of distress, the younger man felt their connection
severed. Chakotay pulled back to survey the damage and winced at the sight.
There was a lot of blood. ‘Dammit, Tom, I didn’t mean for it to be this bad,’ he
said, starting to rise and find something to clean the kid up. Tom chuckled
lightly. ‘Mmmm, that’s easy for you to say now,’ he teased, but sobered up at
the look of pained guilt in Chakotay’s face. ‘Chakotay, this is the
most...incredible, unbelievable thing that’s ever happened to me. Don’t think a
little bloodshed could take any of that away.’ Chakotay brushed the sweaty hair
off Tom’s forehead. ‘I can’t stand the thought of hurting you, Tom. The most
important thing in my life right now is making sure you’re okay.’ Tom’s eyebrows
flashed. ‘Well, consider it mission accomplished, Big Man. I’m more than okay,
I’m great!’ Chakotay laughed at Tom’s bravado. Tom hugged him exuberantly,
quickly turning it into something a more intimated which made Chakotay groan and
push Tom off him like a pesky fly. ‘Hmm, I think I’ve created a monster,’ he
mused, then feigned a tragic sigh. ‘Unfortunately, you’re going to have to make
some allowances for my decrepit, 41 year-old body,’ he told the younger man. ‘I
think it’s the most beautiful body I’ve ever seen,’ Tom said shyly, running a
tentative hand over a bicep and down his arm. Chakotay hugged him, settling his
head into the comfortable crook of his shoulder. ‘Mmm, this is nice,’ Tom sighed
in a drowsy voice. ‘How am I going to look at you on the bridge without tearing
your clothes off and taking you right there in front of everyone?’ Chakotay
laughed again as the image played out in his mind. ‘Hmm, I’d like to see how
Tuvok writes *that* up in his security log!’ he said and they both dissolved
into giggles. They were quiet for awhile, Tom learning for the first time to
enjoy the delicious lassitude that followed coupling. Eventually, he stirred
against Chakotay. ‘We’ve gotta get ready for duty,’ he reminded with a wistful
sigh. Chakotay nestled Tom back in his arms. ‘Not today,’ he said quietly. ‘I
need to meet with my spirit guide and you need to get some rest. You haven’t had
a good night’s sleep in weeks and it’s starting to show..’ Tom’s eyebrows
furrowed. ‘We already agreed I’m okay....’ Chakotay rolled over so Tom was on
his back. He loomed above him, eyes almost hypnotically passing his will onto
the younger man. ‘I’m talking to the Captain while you take a shower,’ he said
in his most gentle voice. ‘Then I want you to lay in bed and read a good book
and eat grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup until your sides burst, okay?’
‘Okay.’ Tom’s voice was almost comically demure and he blushed at Chakotay’s
approving smile. He shivered suddenly and burrowed close to the big man for
warmth. ‘Can’t I....can’t I come with you?’ he asked shyly. Gravely shaking his
head, Chakotay brushed his fingers through Tom’s hair. ‘There are ceremonies we
can do together, but some have to be done alone,’ he explained. ‘This is one
that must be done in solitude.’ ‘What if your spirit guide says you can’t be
with me?’ Tom asked, realizing with dread it was too late for the question. If
Chakotay had to leave now, he’d simply disintigrate into a thousand shards of
glass. Chakotay leaned down and kissed the worried young man with such devoted
tenderness, Tom felt tears cloud his eyes. The intensity of their union had
solidified Chakotay’s ambiguous feelings from the night before. ‘We could not
come together like this if the spirits weren’t behind us,’ he said and even Tom
recognized the strengthened conviction in his tone. ‘Tom, I’m sure we’ll be
tested many times in many different ways, but that’s not because we shouldn’t be
together. Perhaps it’s because we have so much to learn from one another, hmm?’
Tom smiled. ‘I like that,’ he said. ‘Me too,’ Chakotay said, and kissed Tom one
last time, then leaned over so he could pull him up to a sitting position.
‘Leave me some hot water,’ he instructed. ‘I’ll be right there.’ He watched Tom
walk to the bathroom, admiring the lithe young man’s picture perfect physique.
Michaelangelo’s David should be in such shape, Chakotay thought with a grin. It
pleased him to appreciate Tom’s body without overwhelming interference from the
horrifying scars. When he heard the water running, he rose from the bed and put
on his turtle neck and boxers. Grimacing at the bloody sheet, he removed it from
the bed and retrieved a clean one, resolving to rinse the soiled sheet later in
the lavatory. The crew would be talking soon enough, he figured ruefully, no use
just giving the evidence away. Glancing at the time piece, he hailed Janeway in
her suite. ‘Janeway here,’ she answered, ready for duty and obviously finishing
breakfast. ‘What can I do for you, Commander?’ Her eyebrow cocked just a little
too innocently and Chakotay found himself grinning at her insight. He might as
well have chosen a Betazoid as his best friend. ‘With all due respect, Captain,
removing that knowing smirk from your face might be a good place to start.’
Janeway laughed. ‘You hail me from Lt. Paris’ quarters at 0600--only half
dressed, I might add--and I’m supposed to play stupid, is that the drill? And I
was getting ready to thank you for remaining seated.’ Chakotay shook his head at
his captain. ‘Someday it’s going to be your turn, Captain, and believe me, I
will be merciless.’ ‘Hmmm, celibacy is sounding better and better,’ she said
wryly. Chakotay laughed. ‘Can someone else fly the ship today? Tom’s been pretty
stressed lately and I’m kind of worried with that damned virus still lurking...’
Janeway’s face sobered. ‘Is he okay?’ Chakotay nodded slowly. ‘He will be. So
much has happened in the last few months....I’m probably worrying for nothing,
but you know me.’ He held up a hand to stop the captain’s sarcastic reply. ‘Do
you mind if I attend to a few...issues myself today? ‘Take as long as you need,
Chakotay.’ ‘Thank you, Captain.’ ‘Tell me one thing, Commander, seeing as you’re
responsible for the image that will be floating through my mind for the rest of
the day--did you or did you not put on your drawers before hailing me?’
Chakotay’s slow grin lit his face. ‘Something tells me they’ll be taking bets on
it in the mess. See you, Captain.’ He shut off the link and with a chuckle shed
the turtle neck and boxers to join Tom in the shower. He washed the shorter
man’s hair, then skillfully demonstrated an alternative use for the slippery
shampoo. The water ran cold long before they did, but finally the frigid
temperature chased them from the cubicle. Chakotay wrapped them both in the same
towel, noting with interest the faintly bluish hue of Tom’s fair skin. They
dressed in comfortable silence and then it was time for Chakotay to leave. ‘How
long will it take?’ Tom asked. Chakotay shrugged. ‘I can’t say. It depends on
what she has to say to me--whether or not I understand it. I’ll come straight
here as soon as I know anything. I have the credits to replicate dinner, so
we’ll eat here tonight.’ Tom grinned. ‘I don’t think I’m ready for the mess,’ he
admitted. ‘I know it’s stupid, but I keep thinking people will be able to tell know, we did it.’ Chakotay laughed. For all his boastful pretense, the
lieutenant was refreshingly naive. ‘Hell Tom, I wasn’t going to say anything to
you, but they’ve pretty much had us ‘doing it’ for weeks now. We might as well
be getting some of the enjoyment, don’t you think.’ Tom’s grin widened and he
blushed clear to the roots of his hair. ‘Yeah, I guess we should,’ he said
softly. He held his face up for Chakotay’s kiss good-bye and watched the
commander walk from his room, wondering if he looked as nervous as he felt. Oh
well, there was nothing to do now but wait.

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. =========================================================================
CHAPTER TWO (cont'd) Once in his quarters, Chakotay promptly stripped and
retrieved his gish. Sitting cross legged in the middle of the room, he ordered
the computer to play sounds of the rain forest, then he took out two sticks and
dribbled some sand on to the floor. He drew a picture of a house with several
lines on either side of it along with a sun and a moon. The sticks were laid to
the left of the house, then, taking a deep, cleansing breath, Chakotay closed
his eyes and let his head fall backward to face an imaginary sun. She was
patiently waiting for him on the ridge of a cliff very much like the one Tom had
toppled down a month before. As Chakotay neared, she turned slowly to face him,
and he stopped in his tracks, gasping at the bloody remnants of battle across
her chest. The fur had been torn away; the evidence of a frenzied knife battle
criss crossing her body. Chakotay carefully approached and when he was near
enough to touch her, her mouth opened, tongue dangling, panting with smiling
eyes at her charge. Fresh droplets of blood dripped from teeth bathed in red.
She tossed her head and bayed proudly while Chakotay laughed with delight. How
quickly, after all that, it was settled. She led him on a long, arduous hike
through the rugged countryside; Chakotay took this to mean there was an
extensive journey ahead for he and Tom. He never tired, though. When he was
thirsty, a sparkling brook appeared; when he wearied, she paused and cleaned her
wounds until he was energized. When he doubted, she offered silent
encouragement, trusting he could adapt and follow; learn and understand. In the
thick of an overgrown forest, she started to run; barking joyfully so Chakotay
could give chase. He burst through the dense covering and gasped again at the
stunning beauty she presented. It was the most glorious valley he could imagine;
crammed full of wild flowers and sweet smelling grass and he felt tears trailing
down his cheeks. *This will be your reward,* he heard a soft, serene voice
pronounce. *You will walk with beauty all around you and the gods will rejoice
in your midst.* Chakotay danced for a moment in the delicious grassy floor
before her barking grew too incessant to ignore. She smiled at him, eyes
twinkling, the wounds on her chest completely healed. She tossed her head at him
and he heard, *Go to him. Teach him to walk with beauty. Now it is time to
heal.* His eyes snapped open and he almost took off without dressing. Laughing
at his oversight, he quickly donned his clothes then took off for Tom’s, stunned
that he’d been gone over two hours. It had felt like minutes. He had to
concentrate to keep from running, giving up when he reached Tom’s habitat ring.
Luckily it was peak duty hours so no one was roaming the halls, not that it
would have made any difference. He hit Tom’s door at full speed, bursting
through it with a triumphant roar; snatching the astounded lieutenant into a
full bear hug and twirling him around the room until they were both shouting
with laughter. Chakotay’s mouth covered Tom’s and, still spinning dizzily, they
necked with a crazy passion that made Tom’s heart sing. ‘I take it, she had good
news,’ Tom said, eyes sparkling with such genuine happiness Chakotay wanted to
weep. ‘Oh, Tom, better than good news, the *best* news,’ Chakotay said, pulling
him close again, eager for his heat; his mouth; his tongue; knowing his message
would be better understood physically than intellectually. Whimpering with need,
Tom shrugged out of his clothing, opening his arms wide, head back in abject
subservience, offering every last recess of himself to the fiery commander.
Standing back to view his possession, Chakotay wiped his wet mouth with the back
of his hand. ‘You’re mine now, Tom Paris,’ he panted, not caring that the words
were probably terrifying to the lieutenant’s bruised and battered psyche. ‘She
fought for us and won and now you belong to me.’ Tom cried out; helpless yet
unafraid; feeling himself consumed by the big man’s possessive control; by his
certainty and flaming desire. As effortlessly as water down a drain, he
surrendered to Chakotay’s insistent hands and mouth and dick. Who he was before
did not exist anymore; there was only this extention of the beautiful, powerful
commander, to be entered and filled; a receptical of his lover’s seed from which
he would draw strength and vision and life. ‘Ohh gods, I’m yours,’ Tom shouted
at Chakotay’s vicious entry. ‘I will show you the beauty way,’ Chakotay heaved.
‘You’ll learn to walk with beauty all around you.’ Tom groaned, writhing blindly
in Chakotay’s paralyzing grasp. He didn’t know if they were standing or prone,
if Chakotay was inside him or out, if this were real or merely a dream. It was
glorious and terrifying and he never wanted it to stop. ‘You’re mine and your
spirit will rest with me forever more.’ ‘I’m yours, I’m yours!’ he cried, a
beautiful, wanton chorus to Chakotay’s lyrical declarations. ‘The spirits will
smile on us,’ Chakotay promised, gasping for air, his body shuddering with
impending release. Words were no longer possible; only animalistic grunts; cries
that begged for more; and shrieks that implied surrender. With a final,
glass-shattering bellow, Chakotay thrust mightily into the lieutenant who
shrieked with pain and would have collapsed to the floor if Chakotay hadn’t
caught him between two burly arms. Together, they sank gracefully to the floor,
Chakotay ejaculating in hot, juicy spurts the entire way down. Slippery with
sweat, Chakotay gently detached himself. Panting, they did not speak until some
bearing of control returned. Tom curled up in Chakotay’s weak embrace, trailing
kisses across the spent man’s chest. ‘I’m yours,’ Tom whispered, leaning back to
gaze at his lover’s face. Chakotay reached out to brush the sweat and tears
smearing Tom’s flushed face. He looked all of 12 years old and Chakotay felt a
slight flash of guilt. It many ways he was still a hurt, damaged little boy who
needed to be healed. *So I will heal him,* he thought, tightening his arms
around him. ‘You’re mine,’ Chakotay whispered, ‘And everything is going to be
fine. Nothing can hurt you anymore; you’re mine and I won’t let it.’ Tom let
himself be kissed and led to the bed. Let himself be tucked beneath the sheets;
let himself drift to sleep in his lover’s arms, listening to his velvet smooth
voice recounting the beautiful vision he had witnessed. He let himself surrender
his soul to the gentle giant of a man, but never, for a single moment, did he
let himself believe he would not be hurt anymore. ++++++++++++++++++++ Several
days later all the players were still cautiously learning their parts. Chakotay
and the captain had a long discussion about the possible repercussions of a
relationship between he and Tom. Knowing both men so well, she felt certain they
could handle the situation. In the strictest interpretation of Starfleet rules
it wouldn’t necessarily fly, but they weren’t in the strictest of Starfleet
settings, were they? She grinned at Chakotay with one of her characteristically
wicked gleams and said, ‘I, for one, am thankful the two of you finally found
each other, Commander. Perhaps now the rest of the crew can stop holding their
breaths for you and I to get together and actually get some work done.’
Laughing, Chakotay realized his relationship with Tom was going to enhance his
friendship with the captain for just the reason she gave--no crew innuendo to
worry about anymore. Chakoaty could tell Harry had a hard time reconciling the
cool professionalism of Tom and Chakotay he witnessed on the bridge with the
more affectionate, intimate Tom and Chakotay now revealed to him in private. Tom
and Chakotay had asked Harry and B’Elanna to dinner in Chakotay’s quarters where
they rather awkwardly announced their status as a couple. Harry was stunned.
He’d heard the rumors and laughed them off as ludicrous. Sure Tom was rarely
seen at Sandrine’s anymore, but he had been pretty sick there for a while. And
anyway, the commander had never spent much time there, so his absence didn’t
indicate anything. Maybe Tom and the commander had been eating together in the
mess, but gods, so did he and B’Elanna and *they* certainly weren’t involved
with one another. But there in Chakotay’s quarters the *togetherness* of the two
men was obvious. Chakotay was very demonstrative with Tom, holding his hand,
playing with his hair, slinging a possessive arm across his shoulders when they
all sat down to watch a vid. And Tom was simply mesmerized by the imposing
commander. Chakotay had only to smile at the lieutenant for him to beam like
he’d been given an IDIC medallian. Chakotay was somewhat concerned about Harry’s
diffident acceptance of their announcement. Privately, he chalked it up to
jealousy and found himself sizing up the young ensign as a potential rival.
Harry was only a few years younger than Tom, eons younger than himself; and he’d
accepted Tom from the start. No fall from a mountaintop needed for Harry to see
something worthy in the lieutenant. For some reason, that bugged the hell out of
Chakotay. Not to mention the fact that suddenly Tom and Harry seemed to be
spending an inordinate amount of time together. Tom, confused by the commanders
pique, tried to explain he and Harry had *always* spent this much time together,
but Chakotay was hardly pacified. ‘I still don’t see why a *pilot* has to be on
hand to test his emergency procedures,’ Chakotay groused over a late dinner.
‘All he needs is the sim flyer.’ ‘The sim flyer isn’t sentient. The best way to
test how a pilot will react to something is to test how the pilot reacts to it.’
‘Well he’s been testing for a week; you’d think he’d be able to infer something
by now,’ the commander mumbled. Tom eyed Chakotay strangely. ‘Are you mad at
me?’ he asked finally. ‘You’ve been pissy all night and I know nothing happened
on the bridge today.’ Chakotay’s eyes blazed with momentary annoyance, before
softening in the face of Tom’s troubled look. ‘I just....I just don’t see why
you and Harry have to spend every waking second with each other,’ he said,
hating the petulance in his voice. ‘I’m with you now, not Harry,’ Tom said,
still confused. ‘Only because he got called to the Engine Room,’ Chakotay said.
‘You two are always working on your little projects--hell, you’d forget to eat
if I didn’t call you home for dinner every night like some kind of fucking house
mother.’ ‘Chakotay, our ‘little projects’ are trying to get us back to the Alpha
Quadrant. That’s the idea here, isn’t it? You’re never home ‘til late anyway.
And the only reason you call me about dinner is because your schedule is less
predictable than mine.’ Chakotay made a dismissive gesture, pushing back from
the table and pacing with pent up energy. ‘You spend all day together on the
bridge, then half the night in the holodeck. You know he was freaked out by us.
What does he do, sit there and tell you how crazy this is? How you must have
lost it to hook up with me?’ ‘This is a really stupid conversation,’ Tom said.
‘What in the hell are you talking about. Harry isn’t freaked out about anything.
As long as I’m happy, he doesn’t care who I’m with....’ ‘I find *that* hard to
believe,’ Chakotay said sarcastically. ‘What?’ ‘Oh come on, you think I don’t
see the way he looks at you?’ ‘He doesn’t look at me any *way*. Gods, Chakotay,
you’re the one who’s lost it. Harry’s not even attracted to men....’ ‘So you’ve
discussed this with him?’ ‘No I haven’t discussed anything with him. He’s
practically married to some girl back home....’ ‘That doesn’t mean anything,’
Chakotay said hotly. ‘Things change when you’ve been gone this long...’ ‘Not
that fundamentally,’ Tom said pointedly. ‘You’ve always preferred men no matter
where you were and Harry’s always preferred women. And I’ve only ever preferred
you so I don’t know *what* in the hell you’re getting so worked up about.’
Chakotay started to angrily reply before realizing it *was* a pretty stupid
conversation. He laughed weakly and shook his head at himself. With a sheepish
shrug, he took his seat across from Tom. ‘Harry’s a lot younger than I am,’ he
pointed out. ‘A lot closer to your age. And he’s been your friend from the
start. Why *wouldn’t* you prefer him to me?’ Tom gaped incredulously at his
lover, amazed that Chakotay could doubt himself that way. Tom straddled
Chakotay’s lap, staring hard into those velvet pools of brown. ‘How could you
think I’d prefer *anyone* to you?’ he whispered. ‘Chakotay, you’’re
everything.’ Chakotay leaned forward. ‘I can’t stand the thought of anyone else
wanting you the way I do,’ he said. ‘You’re so beautiful, Tom, and young. I look
at you sometimes and think there’s no way I can keep you happy...’ ‘Oh Chakotay,
you’re the only one who could,’ Tom said, with a long, lingering kiss. ‘Sorry I
was being such a shit,’ Chakotay said into Tom’s mouth, moaning when Tom nibbled
behind his ear and kissed a trail along his neck. ‘You forgive a jealous old
man?’ Tom laughed as he unbuttoned Chakotay’s shirt. ‘You’re going to have to
earn your forgiveness tonight, Big Man,’ he taunted, biting Chakotay’s nipple so
hard, the big man shot his load with a shout of surprise. ‘Don’t go too easy on
me,’ Chakotay advised, carrying Tom to the bedroom and tossing him on the bed.
He stripped out of the rest of his clothes then placed a knee on the bed,
looking ominously down on his young lover. ‘Otherwise, I’ll never learn

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** THIS
========================================================================= PART 8
CHAPTER TWO (cont'd) When Chakotay decided a sufficient amount of time had
passed for the lieutenant to grow accustomed to their relationship, he announced
they were going to put it an appearance at Sandrine’s and make it official. ‘I
kind of feel like it’s our first date,’ Tom shyly admitted, sitting on
Chakotay’s couch and watching the big man dress. They’d worked out together
after their shift, then showered and dressed at Chakotay’s. Chakotay paused over
the few shirts in his closet, finally selecting a red one. ‘More like our coming
out party, I’d say,’ he said with a wink. ‘I thought you said everyone suspected
us already.’ ‘Yes, but suspecting us and seeing it before your very eyes are two
entirely different things.’ Tom stood up and began fastening the buttons of
Chakotay’s shirt. ‘We’ll need a counselor to treat all the broken hearts,’ he
said with a teasing smile. At Sandrine’s door, Chakotay took Tom’s hand and
squeezed it. Tom expected him to drop it, but he didn’t, merely opened the door
and stepped in with Tom in tow. It was fairly busy, enough so the entire crowd
didn’t stop what they were doing to stare, but there was still an element of
show and tell to their presence. They played a couple of games of pool, losing
hopelessly to Harry and B’Elanna. It was a rather tame evening. Chakotay warned
Tom he tended to have that effect on crew gatherings, and Tom replied that was
only because most of them had never seen him naked. As the evening concluded,
Chakotay went to the computer and voiced a few commands, then returned to Tom.
‘Dance with me,’ he said in a low voice. He couldn’t see it, but he knew the way
Tom looked at him the lieutenant had blushed to the roots of his hair. ‘In front
of everyone?’ Tom asked. Chakotay grinned. ‘What, Lieutenant. Are you *scared?*’
Tom laughed. ‘Is that a dare?’ he asked, smiling up at his lover. ‘Will it get
your ass out on the floor with me?’ With another laugh, Tom let himself be led
to the dance floor, fitting perfectly into that nook between Chakotay’s neck and
shoulder. He smiled at the tune Chakotay selected. It was one of the commander’s
favorites; a Dorvakian ballad they danced to nightly in the privacy of
Chakotay’s room. ‘I love how this song makes me think of you in my arms,’
Chakotay whispered in Tom’s ear. ‘The way it makes me think about holding your
naked body next to mine and feeling the soft downy fuzz of your pubic hair brush
against my groin; that makes me remember the huff of breath you take every time
my erection brushes against yours.’ His hand snaked down and covered Tom’s ass,
pushing them tightly together. ‘From now on, it’ll remind me of the way everyone
in this room wishes it was them in my place; they’re wondering how it feels to
make you cum and all the while, I know, I *know* I’m the only one you’ve got
anything for.’ Chakotay’s hips swayed and his erection twitched dangerously
against Tom’s leg. ‘Part of me wants you to go down on me right here,’ he
whispered. ‘I’d do it if you told me to,’ Tom said, his voice sounding hoarse,
unused. ‘I’d do anything you told me to. *Anything.*’ Tom pulled back and looked
up into Chakotay’s eyes as if waiting to be instructed, blushing when Chakotay
grinned in prideful ownership. Chakotay very slowly lowered his head and
captured Tom’s soft mouth, sliding his tongue into the welcoming depths until
the last bar of the song wafted through the room. ‘There,’ the commander said
forcefully. He winked at Tom, took his hand, and with a friendly wave to Harry
and B’Elanna, led the stunned lieutenant out of Sandrine’s and home to bed.

Perfect Timing (VOY - C/P - NC17) Part 1 of Many STANDARD FAN FICTION
DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah. Please see other fan
fiction for better worded, more officially sounding disclaimers and understand
that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for intro explanation of my
Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains material of an adult nature.
Please do not read if you are under 18 years of age. **** WARNING **** WARNING
========================================================================= PART 9
CHAPTER THREE *Why is it hot in here?* Tom wondered before he was fully
conscious. Jeez, he was soaking wet. He was going to have to talk to Chakotay
about his environment settings. Gently disengaging himself from Chakotay’s
viselike grip, he slid over to his side of the bed, biting back a groan at the
pain in his lower back. Chakotay must have pulled something out of whack last
night, he thought, grinning at how proud he’d be to hear it. Tom teased him that
the nickname Big Man had nothing to do with his physique and everything to do
with his ego. Tom carefully got out of bed--Chakotay liked his sleep--and took a
shower. He was letting the hot water pound against his back, hoping to work out
the kink when the bathroom began growing dark. Blackness crept around the
outskirts of his vision, his head grew heavy and suddenly Tom slumped against
the shower stall in a half faint. He managed to keep himself from falling,
shaking his head to clear the sudden cobwebs. Now he felt cold and shivery. Had
he skipped dinner last night? Strangely, he couldn’t seem to recall. He sure
didn’t feel hungry. As a matter of fact, he realized with growing panic, he felt
like he could puke any minute. He turned off the water, wrapped an oversized
towel around his quaking shoulders and shakily slunk down until he was sitting
next to the toilet. He leaned his head back against the wall and gradually the
shakes died down. Eventually the nausea eased as well, and Tom unsteadily stood
up. He wiped his hand across his forehead, surprised that it came away damp with
sweat. He grimaced at his pale reflection in the mirror and decided he had to
eat better and get a little more sleep. He went back out to the bedroom to dress
and hastened to sit down when another wave of faintness threatened. Before it
passed, Chakotay rolled over and opened his eyes. ‘What time is it?’ he mumbled.
‘The time is 0525,’ the computer replied. Chakotay groaned and stretched.
‘Lights up 50 percent,’ he said in the middle of a yawn. The computer complied
and both men blinked at the brightness. ‘What are you doing?’ Chakotay asked
Tom, who was sitting on the chair wrapped in a towel. Tom shrugged and grinned
at his lover. ‘Just wondering whether or not I should sue you for so thoroughly
rearranging my internal organs last night,’ Grinning proudly, Chakotay flashed
his eyebrows at the lieutenant. ‘There’s a line around the ring of people
begging for the opportunity,’ he joked. ‘That’s what you tell me anyway,’ Tom
said, feeling steady enough to stand and start putting on his uniform.
Chakotay’s grin faded. ‘Gods Tom, you’re white as the sheets. Are you okay?’
‘I’m fine,’ Tom said, looking at Chakotay as if he were crazy. ‘Did you have
another nightmare?’ Chakotay asked, coming to stand next to the younger man. Tom
shrugged, not understanding his evasiveness. ‘I’m okay, Chakotay. Just hungry.’
Chakotay hugged him from behind and kissed his neck, readily accepting the
excuse. ‘Something tells me it’s not for my nutritious meat either,’ he said,
grinding his meat against Tom’s ass. Tom laughed, ‘Something may tell you that,
but I doubt you’d believe it,’ he said wryly, turning to kiss Chakotay’s lips.
Chakotay grinned good-naturedly and left to take his shower. Tom watched him go,
admiring the commander’s strong physique and feeling slightly bitter towards his
own faltering health. Probably nothing, he told himself with a careless shrug.
Sketching a quick drawing suggesting their evening’s entertainment, Tom wrote a
mushy love note and left it on Chakotay’s pillow, smiling because Chakotay would
leave one for him to find when *he* returned after duty. Sometimes the commander
wrote them in Navajo, leaving Tom to stew about the meaning until he came home
and translated. Tom walked down to the messhall and joined Harry and B’Elanna
for breakfast. Eschewing coffee, which raised the eyebrows of his friends, Tom
sipped water and some kind of fruit juice, hoping it would calm his churning
stomach. He thought briefly about calling in sick, imagining the humiliation of
puking on the bridge, but by the time he and Harry were due to report, he felt a
lot better. That lasted all of an hour. *Just let me get through today,* he
pleaded inwardly, as hot and cold flashes had him alternately sweating and
shivering. The energy required to act like nothing was wrong was draining--more
than anything in the universe, he wanted to lie down and sleep. Thankfully, it
was was an uneventful morning. Janeway, Tuvok and Chakotay spent most of it
discussing the pros and cons of entering Boch’taynian airspace given what little
they knew of the people and their culture. Tom’s job was just to keep the ship
on its present course and other than having to respond to a comment from Harry
now and again, he was left alone to do it. At the lunch break, he and Harry left
together for the mess. After sitting for so long, standing seemed to require an
inordinate amount of strength; Tom found himself holding tightly to the wall of
turbo lift. Harry called for Deck 4 and when the lift started to move, Tom
nearly lost his footing. ‘Tom?’ Harry said, concerned. He put his hand out to
Tom’s shoulder and the lieutenant sagged fairly comprehensively against him and
sank to the floor. ‘I’m okay, I’m okay,’ Tom mumbled at Harry’s startled cry,
but after Harry helped him to stand and removed his supporting hands, he fell
again. Harry pushed his comm badge. ‘Kim to engineering.’ ‘Torres here,’
‘B’Elanna, medical emergency. Beam Tom Paris and I to sick bay.’ ‘What’s wrong?’
asked B’Elanna. ‘B’Elanna, I’ll call you in a minute, please hurry.’ They
materialized in Sickbay, Tom still in a heap on the floor. Kes was in the office
and she promptly activated the doctor who motioned for Tom to be placed on a
biobed. ‘I’m okay, just...a little shakey maybe....’ Tom mumbled trying to sit
up. Kes gently pushed him down. ‘Relax, Tom,’ she soothed. ‘We were in the turbo
lift and he just, kind of, collapsed,’ Harry was saying to the doctor who looked
over at Tom for verification. Tom shrugged at the accuracy of the statement and
grimaced at Harry. ‘Look Harry, thanks for....for getting me here and
everything. But you don’t have to wait. It’s probably just low blood sugar or
something. You know, I skipped breakfast and didn’t eat much for dinner.....You
don’t have to sit around or anything....’ Reading Tom’s embarrassment Harry
shrugged and grinned. ‘Anything to get out of work, huh Lieutenant,’ he said,
taking up leave. ‘You got it,’ Tom replied with an answering grin. He was cold
again and when the Sickbay door slid closed behind Harry, he started shaking.
Kes got him a blanket and while she started taking blood and the doctor scanned
him with the medilyzer, he closed his eyes and pretended to be scamming time off
from the bridge. ‘Computer, locate Commander Chakotay,’ Harry said as the
Sickbay door’s closed. ‘Commander Chakotay is in the Ready Room,’ the computer
politely replied. Steeling himself, Harry walked to the Ready Room door, visions
of the messenger being punished for the message. He buzzed at the door and Tuvok
answered, raising a characteristic eyebrow at the ensign’s presence. ‘May I
speak to the Commander,’ Harry asked, feeling incredibly self-conscious.
Chakotay appeared at the door, looking vaguely annoyed, but Harry ruefully
thought that was how the commander always looked at him these days. ‘Um,
Commander, Tom’s in Sickbay,’ Harry began, stopping at the frozen look on
Chakotay’s face. ‘What’s wrong?’ the commander asked, stepping back as Janeway
joined him at the door. ‘I’m not sure,’ Harry said. ‘Tom sort of fainted in the
turbo lift, so we beamed over to Sickbay. He said something like it was low
blood sugar and not to sit around, but....but I thought maybe you should know.’
‘Oh, yeah...well....thanks Mr. Kim,’ Chakotay said, no longer seeing the ensign
in front of him. He turned worried eyes to the captain and before he could say,
‘Permission to....’, Janeway answered with ‘Go, Commander. Let me know something
as soon as you hear.’ Chakotay took off for Sickbay, making a concerted effort
not to run. He *knew* Tom looked ill that morning; he should have insisted he go
to Sickbay immediately. He charged through the Sickbay doors and rushed to Tom’s
side. ‘What’s wrong?’ he asked the doctor. There was no color in Tom’s face; his
sunken eyes looked enormously large. ‘Jeez, Harry didn’t have to scare you down
here,’ Tom groused. ‘I’m okay....’ The doctor pursed his lips. ‘Lieutenant, your
temperature is 102 degrees and your white count is at 40,000. That hardly
qualifies you as ‘okay.’’ Tom grimaced at the doctor and shook his head at
Chakotay as if to minimize the impact of his words. Chakotay smoothed the hair
off Tom’s heated forehead and considered taking the discussion back to the
doctor’s office, but Tom would have to be told soon enough. ‘The medication Tom
took is wearing off, isn’t it?’ Chakotay asked quietly. ‘The virus isn’t fooled
anymore.’ ‘It looks that way,’ the doctor said briskly. ‘Kes and I have been
trying to develop a more reliable medication but have not come across one as
yet.’ ‘So what does that mean?’ Chakotay asked, his calm veneer threatening to
give way. ‘What do we do now?’ ‘That means, Commander, that Kes and I continue
testing medications. It’s all we can do.’ ‘Then why don’t I go back to my
quarters until you find something?’ Tom suggested helpfully. Kes, the Doctor and
Chakotay all shot him nearly identical dubious looks. ‘Sickbay is the best place
for you right now,’ Kes said in her kind, soft voice--a much more diplomatic
response than either Chakotay or the doctor would have offered. Tom’s shrug said
it was worth a try. He settled back in the bed having discovered the nausea
lessened a bit when he was flat on his back. Gods he was starting to feel really
sick. ‘Chakotay, you go back to the bridge,’ he said weakly pushing the
commander from his side. ‘I...I’ll be okay can stop by when you’re off
duty.’ ‘I won’t be any good up there,’ Chakotay said softly, leaning down to
kiss Tom’s cheek. Tom smiled, ‘Yeah, well, I have a feeling you’ll be more
trouble down here. Kes will call you if they need you.’ Chakotay glanced up at
Kes who nodded her agreement. She smiled sympathetically at the commander who
sighed and shrugged his okay. ‘You should have told me you felt sick,’ he
whispered to Tom. ‘Don’t....don’t keep things like this from me.’ ‘I thought I
was hungry,’ Tom replied lamely, smirking at Chakotay’s obvious disbelief.
‘Well, yeah, I guess you’re right,’ he relented. ‘I don’t want you to worry. You
worry, you know.’ ‘Just about you,’ Chakotay whispered, lightly kissing his
mouth. ‘Take care; I’ll see you in a few.’

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** THIS
========================================================================= PART
10 CHAPTER THREE (cont'd) Chakotay was back a few hours later. He had been
useless on the bridge and now he was kicking himself for staying away. Tom’s
temperature was up; he was suffering from painful muscle spasms and had vomitted
off and on all afternoon. Just before Chakotay arrived, he finally fell into a
restless sleep. He looked terrible; his skin pale and even in sleep his face was
drawn up in pain. ‘Any news?’ Chakotay hopefully asked Kes, who sadly shook her
head. The commander quietly sat at Tom’s bedside, refusing to accompany Harry
and B’Elanna to the mess for a dinner break. They had stopped in after duty, but
Tom was still asleep and there was nothing for them to do. But Chakotay couldn’t
leave. At one point, Tom awoke with a start and looked confusedly about the
room. Nothing registered in his face when Chakotay took his hand and said, ‘Hey
there, Tom, everything’s okay.’ Tom’s eyes widened fearfully. ‘Does Daddy know
I’m here?’ he whispered, gripping the sheets so tightly his knuckles turned
white. The hair on Chakotay’s neck stood on end and he tasted bile at the back
of his mouth. Swallowing hard, he had to concentrate to keep his voice soft. ‘He
can’t touch you here, Kitten,’ he said softly, petting the hair of Tom’s
forehead and leaning in a little closer, willing Tom to recognize him; to know
where he was. Had he been well, it would have embarrassed Tom to know Kes
overheard Chakotay use his affectionate nickname. They’d been lying in bed one
morning, enjoying the lazy aftermath of orgasm, when Chakotay playfully pet
Tom’s hair as he was licking up the creamy cum on Chakotay’s abdomen. ‘You’re my
sweet little kitty cat,’ he’d teased, laughing when Tom growled and threated to
take a bite out of him. Chakotay’s laughter died down and he gathered Tom close
and remembered Tom’s early skittishness and the way he could be calmed with a
caress or a kind word; how a loud noise made him jump and the way he curled up
in Chakotay’s lap after a trying day. He felt tears in his eyes as he almost
reverently kissed the younger man’s forehead. ‘You’re my sweet Kitten,’ he’d
whispered and somehow the silly name stuck. In private, Tom adored the rushing
warmth that accompanied the tender endearment, though he harbored a well found
fear that one of these days Chakotay would be on the bridge and in the heat of
battle would shout, ‘Full warp speed! Get us out of here, Kitten!’ They often
giggled about the possibility, which didn’t mean Tom wasn’t concerned. ‘I’m with
you now and you’re safe,’ Chakotay was whispering. ‘Nothing can hurt you when
I’m here.’ Tom bit his lower lip and whispered, ‘Safe,’ like it was some kind of
magical password. Chakotay blinked and a couple of tears slipped down his cheek.
‘Gods, Tom, please....please try to....I mean, you’ve got to try not to....Tom,
you’ve got to try real hard not to let this thing beat you, you hear? I need you
with me. I love you, okay?’ Tom brought his hand up to his chest and pressed
against his thundering heart. It was hurting him. He blinked hard a couple of
times and his eyes cleared. ‘You never said that before,’ he rasped, staring at
the big man with wide eyes. ‘I know,’ Chakotay said, leaning down even closer,
gently nuzzling Tom’s cheek. ‘I should have. I should have said it the first
time you looked up at me with those pretty blue eyes and turned that fly boy
smile on me. I was a goner from the start. I love you, Tom Paris. I love you.’
Tom closed his eyes and arched his back against an onslought of painful cramps.
‘You would tell me that when I’m flat on my back and can’t do anything about
it,’ he panted when the pain finally receded. Chakotay laughed and sobbed at the
same time. ‘Why don’t you tell me the same thing,’ he suggested, then gave him a
quick wink. ‘Not to mention giving me a raincheck promising to provide proof.’ A
slow grin spread across Tom’s face. ‘Oh Chakotay, you know I do,’ he whispered
softly. ‘You’re the only person I ever loved in the whole universe....the only
one I ever *will* love. I just didn’t want to make you feel bad by saying it if
you didn’t feel that way too.’ Swiping at the tears on his face, Chakotay shook
his head. ‘Gods, you’re sweet.’ he said. ‘Don’t leave me, okay?’ The very idea
that Chakotay would request such a thing stunned Tom. He could only nod at
Chakotay’s demand, but then, another cramp took hold and forced the breath from
him and for a long time, he couldn’t speak anyway. ++++++++++++++++++++ Two days
passed. Tom was only conscious for brief snatches now and whenever he came
around, he had to be told where he was and what was happening to him. The virus
was fighting ferociously for Tom’s body and was apparently winning. Chakotay
felt as if he was watching everything from under water or behind some kind of
taped delay force field. It all appeared in slow motion; designed to make him
endure every moment of Tom’s suffering and all the while punctuating his
inability to do anything about it. Janeway kindly offered, then firmly ordered
Chaktoay to stay off the bridge. She, Harry and B’Elanna took turns bringing
Chakotay food and cajoling him into taking a shower and getting some rest, but
he hated to leave Sickbay. He worried incessantly about Tom coming around,
frightened, lost, and Chakotay not being there for him. It was Janeway’s watch
when Chakotay shook his head at some inner conversation, eyes boring into the
ground in front of him. ‘I never expected this,’ he huffed under his breath,
only realizing he’d spoken aloud after Janeway turned to look at him. Chakotay
shrugged, shook his head some more, mouth drawn up tight in a grimace of
disbelief. ‘Seven months ago, I thought he was this arrogant, smart ass, son of
a bitch and now....’ his voice caught in his throat and trailed off. He gruffly
cleared the blockage. ‘Now, I don’t know how to be without him.’ ‘You’re not
going to be without him,’ Janeway said with quiet intensity. ‘The doctor said
he’ll be fine....’ ‘If he can isolate the contagion, and if he can develop an
antidote, and if the damage already done isn’t permanent...’ Chakotay’s head
still shook back and forth, his features revealing more and more of the
hopelessness welling within him. It was too much, he thought, but could not say
to the captain. It’s the straw that will break him, and in breaking him, destroy
us both. ‘Chakotay, you heard the doctor. He fully expects to find the cure and
reverse any damage.’ ‘He’s not programmed to expect anything else,’ Chakotay
said bitterly. ‘You don’t understand. I promised Tom--promised myself--that
I’d....that I’d....protect him....that no more bad things would touch him.’
Chakotay ran a trembling hand through his short, bristled hair, still staring
forlornly at the ground. He missed the brief flicker of amusement that flashed
across the captain’s face. ‘Well now, Commander. I’d have to be blind to miss
the obvious....esteem the lieutenant holds for you. However, I believe even Mr.
Paris knows the extent of what you can and can’t control.’ Chakotay’s lips
twitched in self-deprecation. ‘Yes, I suppose he does,’ he admitted. ‘I
just...feel like I should be able to fix everything. I...I like his thinking I
can, you know?’ ‘I’m beginning to see,’ Janeway drawled. Kes poked her head out
of the infirmary. ‘He’s coming around, Commander,’ she said. Rising quickly,
Chakotay brushed passed Kes and in three quick strides was at Tom’s side. He
felt tears burn his eyes at the sight of the ailing young man. Tom’s cheeks were
flushed with bright, red splotches; the rest of his skin was a frightening gray.
Chakotay could feel the heat radiating from his skin as he picked up a hand and
brought it to his lips. Tom struggled to consciousness, needing a ridiculous
effort to open his heavy, blood shot eyes. He realized instantly that he was not
home and the familiar panic that accompanied exposure made him fearfully cry
out. ‘It’s okay, Tom,’ Chakotay crooned. ‘You’re in Sickbay. You’ve had another
relapse, but I’m here with you and everything’s going to be fine.’ Willing his
eyes to focus, Tom took in the pained visage of his lover. ‘You look tired,’ he
rasped, touching one of the dark circles beneath Chakotay’s eye. Chakotay kissed
the hand he held and smiled. ‘Neither one of us is going to win any beauty
pageants,’ he said wryly. Tom smiled, but it faded quickly. His back
involuntarily arched from the bed as a vicious spasm tore through his nervous
system. ‘Oh gods, just let it kill me and be done!’ he screamed inwardly. He
waited for Kes or the doctor to inject something--anything--but there was no
intervention. He gasped violently for air, tearing at his chest trying to
somehow coax his lungs into fully expanding. When it was over, oh gods, finally,
over, Tom, gratefully sucked down mouthfuls of air, only gradually becoming
aware of his surroundings. He felt guilty for the tears streaming down
Chakotay’s smooth cheeks. It would be better for all of them when he was gone,
he thought fleetingly. ‘Oh, Chakotay, I feel so ill,’ he whispered. The words
sliced like a knife in Chakotay’s gut. ‘I know,’ he said in a shaking voice, ‘I
know. But it’s’s just until the doctor finds the cure. Anything they
could give you for the pain might camouflage what they’re looking for.’ Tom
nodded wearily. ‘What if....what if he doesn’t find it, then what?’ ‘Don’t say
that!’ Chakotay angrily hissed. ‘Don’t even think it! You’re going to be fine,
Tom. You’re going to be fine! But a lot of that is believing you’ll be okay, do
you hear me? We can’t have any negative thinking here, okay?’ Shrugging
carelessly, Tom wondered vaguely why he wasn’t as concerned as Chakotay. The
weaker he felt--the further away this present reality became--the calmer he was.
That idea alone should have him climbing the walls, he thought. Tom sighed and
struggled to find a more comfortable position. Everything ached, both inside and
out, except wherever Chakotay was touching him. The big man had picked up a cool
cloth and was gently wiping him down. His touch was magical, both gentle and
commanding. ‘I’m sorry to be so much trouble,’ he said, breathing hard at the
effort it took to speak. ‘It seems you’re always having with my shit,’ His back arched and his words tightened with
pain. Tom’s eyes bulged at the rising torment of agony coursing through his
bloodstream. He felt sweat dripping from his face, pooling in his ear and he
realized in a vague, far-off way that the noisy cries filling the Sickbay were
coming from him. ‘Please, you’ve got to do something!’ he heard Chakotay’s
desperate voice and he wondered irritably just what in the hell he was supposed
to do. Then he heard the holodoc answering and he felt a flash of guilt.
‘Chakotay, we learn more when the lieutenant is awake. The sedatives that keep
him unconscious interfere just as badly as the ones to mask the pain.’ ‘A
somnifier then. Or a Vulcan neck pinch....anything. Please.’ ‘Chakotay,’ Kes’
voice this time. Gentle, patient. Understanding the pain of watching someone
suffer. ‘This is how it happens when you’re dealing with a virus that’s never
been seen. I know it’s terrible to watch; I know Tom’s uncomfortable, that
you’re both frightened, but you simply must let us do our job.’ Tom heard what
sounded like a sob, then Chakotay was whispering something he couldn’t hear. Oh
gods, not again, he thought, as fiery, spiked fingers clenched around his
stomach. He started to finally, blessedly, loose consciousness, but wouldn’t you
know it, that’s when Kes and the holodoc decided to take action. Kes grabbed his
face, yelling at him to stay there. Fuck that, she had no idea what she was
asking. The doctor was yelling at him, too, ordering him to pay attention,
shouting instructions to Kes. Fuck it, he thought bitterly, hating the frenzied
activity outside of him, hating the feel of their hands on him, their insistence
that he continue to participate when all he wanted--blessed oblivion--lay just
beyond his grasp. But then there was an eerie kind of silence and Chakotay’s
face appeared just centimeters from his. ‘Please, Tom,’ Chakotay whispered.
‘Please Beloved, mi teyaamo. Please stay awake. Stay awake.’ Tom shook violently
beneath the mountains of covers. Damn them! Damn them! he thought. They didn’t
know what they were asking! But they knew he wouldn’t refuse. He managed to
focus his bleary eyes on the panic-stricken commander. ‘I’ll try,’ he managed to
choke out. ‘I’ll try.’ Chakotay kissed his forehead, whispering a Navajo prayer
he couldn’t understand but still found somewhat comforting. More pain in his
abdomen; Kes’ hands were making it worse. He wished desperately to be left
alone. He wished for blackness, for the absence of being, for peace. He’d had so
little peace in his life; what little he’d found had come only in Chakotay’s
embrace but for so brief a time. He felt himself slipping away; felt his anger
and resentment replaced by a spreading, soothing warmth, that started in the
center of his chest and moved outward. Oh this was nice. This was so nice....
Chakotay watched panic-stricken as Tom’s eyes fluttered and rolled back in his
head. His body went limp and the readings above him started going all over the
place. Suddenly, his arms and legs grew rigid, his head snapped back, and a
horrible, gurgling gasp lifted his back from the bed. Then, to Chakotay’s
horror, he began violent convulsing. Kes shoved Chakotay from Tom’s bedside and
swiftly injected two hyposprays into the lieutenant’s neck. Nothing changed and
a terrifying minute later, the holodoc pressed another spray into Tom’s shoulder
and now the seizure began to abate. Tom groaned deep and low from the back of
his throat. A series of mini-seizures, like aftershocks following an earthquake,
continued to rock his system, and with another low moan, he rolled to his side
and vomited. When the doctor finally restored some semblance of stability, Kes
began cleaning him up. In the last hour, his temperature had risen a degree and
a half, hovering at a dangerous 105.6. His left kidney was starting to fail and
an erratic heartbeat was now added to his list of ailments. Swallowing his own
nausea, Chakotay reapproached his lover’s side. ‘I don’t want him to die like
this,’ he said, his voice surprisingly steady. ‘If we have a chance....if we can
find a cure, I’ll do anything, *anything* I possibly can to see it happen. But
if there’s no hope; if nothing more can be done for him.....then let me take
him. Let me hold him and send him gently to the other side. This is....this is
torture and I simply can’t let him go like this......’ He blinked away the tears
and swallowed hard, knowing that hysteria would render his arguments moot. Tom
needed his rationality; it was the last gift he could give the young
lieutenant--a dignified, painfree death. Surely after all his suffering as a
child, after all the indignities and cruelties of his young life; surely Tom
deserved this final, minute act of kindness. ‘Don’t count him out yet.’ It was
Captain Janeway’s voice, just centimeters behind him. Strong, angry, forceful.
‘I don’t know his story the way you do,’ she said, tightly gripping Chakotay’s
arm. ‘But I do know he’s been sold short most of his life and every single time,
he’s proven everyone wrong. You know better than any of us how strong Tom Paris
really is.’ With a tired sigh, Chakotay ran his hand across his burning eyes.
‘So much has happened to much that no one will ever know. I can’t have
this. I can’t let this be the way he crosses over. I’m not selling him short,
Captain. I’m *not.* Tom has a strength I can’t even begin to fathom. All I’m
saying is, if it’s not enough, if this is to be the end, then let it be gentle
and forgiving. Let him go out respecting life, not dreading it. Let him welcome
death as the beginning of a wonderful journey and not simply the escape from
some kind of worldy torture. It’s all I have to give him.’ ‘You have a lifetime
together to give him,’ Janeway said, gripping his arm for emphasis. Chakotay
took a deep breath. It seemed like weeks since he’d seen anything but the muted
flourescent lights of Sickbay. He shrugged, feeling lost and realized he was
trying to make a mammoth decision without any spiritual influence. His arrogance
again. As good as Tom was for him, he also awakened serious demons in the
commander--the need to control and possess; equating love with ownership. This
was not his decision to make alone. ‘I....Captain....Kes, I need to go to my
quarters for a little while,’ Chakotay said, tucking the blanket a little more
tightly around Tom’s shoulder. ‘Will you call me if there’s any change?’ ‘Of
course, Commander,’ Kes said; ever patient. Chakotay walked slowly to his
quarters, idly trying to figure how long it had been since he was last there. He
gave up the riddle with a tired shrug. Peeling off his uniform, he stepped in
the shower and stood under scorching hot water just to feel something. He
wondered if the dead feeling spreading from his chest outward was what Tom had
felt in prison, looking up at Begay as the realization of his betrayal hit home.
He was going to make up for all of that; replace all the rotten, bitter memories
with happiness and light. *Now* who was the naive child in this relationship, he
thought sharply. Like he could erase a lifetime of misery with a kind word and a
soft touch. What a cosmic joke. It was not the appropriate mindset for a meeting
with the spirits, Chakotay realized. He walked out to the bedroom with a towel
around his waist and sank exhaustedly to the bed. For the first time, he
understood Tom’s animosity toward them, toward their anitpathy and
inattentiveness. He leaned back against the bedpost and closed his eyes to try
to clear his acrid thoughts and with one soft sigh fell into a much-needed
sleep. With a stifled cry of dispair, he awoke some time later, panicked and
confused. His comm badge beeped and he realized with a crushing terror that he
had fallen asleep; dropped his vigile; left Tom to fend for himself. Gods, oh
gods, no, no, no.....he thought with rising hysteria as Kes’s voice called,
‘Commander Chakotay? Kes to Commander Chakotay. Are you there?’ Oh gods, oh no
oh no oh no oh no, he pleaded. I can’t do this, it’s too soon. Don’t you
understand, don’t you see? Oh gods, no! ‘Commander?’ He groped for the badge.
‘Chakotay here,’ he managed to rasp, sounding like he hadn’t spoken for months.
‘Commander! We’ve found a drug that’s working! It’s just like before. Tom’s
temperature is dropping and all of the internal damage has been reversed!’
Chakotay released his clenched stomach muscles and emitted a cry that signaled
both pain and relief. ‘He’s cured then? He’s cured? He’ll be fine? No more
virus? No more of this....’ Kes’s silence was his answer and the momentary joy
was replaced with a shroud of defeat. ‘We’ll talk when you get to Sickbay,’ she
said gently. With a sigh, Chakotay clicked off and for the second time, nearly
tore out of his quarters in the buff. His laugh was more of a sob, but he shook
his head and thought, *That damn kid stole my mind the same time he stole my

STANDARD FAN FICTION DISCLAIMER: Paramount owns the characters blah blah blah.
Please see other fan fiction for better worded, more officially sounding
disclaimers and understand that they apply here as well. Please see Part 1 for
intro explanation of my Voyager universe. This story (eventually) contains
material of an adult nature. Please do not read if you are under 18 years of
age. **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** WARNING **** THIS
========================================================================= PART
11 CHAPTER THREE (cont'd) They probably would have made better time if Chakotay
was carrying him, but together they slowly, carefully made their way to Tom’s
quarters. It was only 24 hours since the doctor had discovered the latest
vaccine, but he agreed to let Tom recuperate in his own quarters. Chakotay was
starting to think it would have been wiser to simply beam there directly, but it
seemed important to Tom that he make the journey under his own steam.
Crewmembers smiled encouragingly, offering greetings and good wishes. Only a few
were openly fearful of contagion and Chakotay’s withering glare was enough to
keep them from saying anything aloud. By the time they reached Tom’s quarters,
the lieutenant was trembling uncontrollably, the residual effects of the trauma
to his central nervous system. The shaking rendered him helpless--he couldn’t
support his weight; couldn’t feed himself; or read a book or fiddle with a data
padd; there was nothing to do but ride it out. The holodoc had promised to
prescribe medication if the symptom persisted much longer, but he preferred for
Tom’s system to right itself. Chakotay helped Tom to the bed, clucking to him in
a soft, soothing voice, knowing the more upset Tom became, the worse the shaking
would get. Tom allowed himself to be handled; to be undressed and pushed into a
reclining position. He willed his traitorous limbs to obey the signals he was
sending to little avail. Gods, he’d never sit in the pilot’s seat again at this
rate. He tossed uncomfortably, trying to sit up, but unable to figure out what
muscles and bones were needed for such an act. ‘Mmm.....mmm bathroom,’ he
mumbled, recognizing almost too late the churning nausea in his belly. Chakotay,
himself recognizing Tom’s telltale greenish hue, quickly pulled Tom from the bed
and half-supported, half carried him to the bathroom. Leaning heavily against
the countertop, Tom ineffectually pushed at Chakotay to leave him alone. ‘By
myself,’ he whispered, refusing to meet Chakotay’s eyes. The commander started
to argue, but the intense shame clouding Tom’s face silenced him. Instead he
kissed the top of Tom’s head, whispered, ‘Mi teyaamo,’ and left the room. The
sounds of Tom’s retching filled the tiny cabin. Chakotay sat on the floor
outside the bathroom with his head in his hands. At one point, alarmed by the
length of the attack, he contacted the holodoc who assured him it was just the
last vestiges of the virus and all the different medications pumped into the
lieutenant’s system. The sudden stillness after he clicked off made Chakotay
hurry to Tom’s side. Curled around the base of the toilet, the lieutenant was
only semi-conscious. He was covered in vomit, at some point no longer able to
support himself over the toilet. Chakotay swallowed his tears, reminding himself
that Tom was getting better. He played it over and over in his mind, a mantra
that helped steady his own shaking hands. ‘He’s getting
better-better-better.....’ He cleaned off the worst of the mess with a
washcloth, then ran the bath and gently placed Tom in the soothing warm water.
Chakotay mopped up the bathroom floor, then peeled off his clothes and joined
Tom. He slipped in behind the young lieutenant, wrapping his arms around his
fragile lover to curb the spasms. Tom moaned as control began ebbing back into
his system. Eventually his body calmed and Chakotay eased his hold. Tom turned,
burying his head in the big man’s massive shoulder, and began to sob. ‘It’s
okay, Kitten,’ Chakotay whispered, trying at first to quiet the hysterical young
man. He realized that perhaps this release was just what Tom needed. After that,
he simply smoothed the soft blond hair, and periodically whispered, ‘I love you.
I’m right here. I love you and everything’s going to be just fine.’ Tom was
barely awake when Chakotay roused them from the tub. He helped Tom to bed and
settled him between the sheets. Tom lay on his back, staring up at Chakotay with
unfocused eyes. ‘I love you,’ Tom murmured. ‘Even when you go away, I’ll still
love you....’ ‘I’m not going anywhere,’ Chakotay soothed. Tom sighed, not
realizing it was tears clouding his vision. ‘Oh, you will,’ he whispered. ‘But
it doesn’t matter....Now’s has to be.’ He mumbled something more,
but Chakotay could no longer understand. Poor kid, he thought, brushing the hair
from his forehead. He expects so much of himself, yet so little of everyone
else. Chakotay grabbed another blanket from the cabinet and tucked it around
Tom. He suddenly felt guilty for letting Tom believe his feelings were so much
stronger than Chakotay’s. It was a selfish kind of control maneuver; and one
certainly Kes and the captain could see through given his hysteria of the past
week and a half. And yet somehow, he was more comfortable with their knowing
than with Tom’s. ‘Some fearless big man, huh, babe?’ he muttered. Oh well, they
all harbored their own secrets. Certainly there were worse to be had, weren’t
there? ++++++++++++++++++++ Tom’s recovery plan consisted mostly of sleeping
which he did for roughly 20 hours a day. The high point of his life was Chakotay
returning from duty to eat dinner with him and recount the days’ events. After
they ate, Chakotay usually read aloud for a little while, then Tom fell asleep
for another 12 hours. ‘What does mi teyaamo mean?’ Tom asked one evening after
dinner. Chakotay had often whispered the phrase to him of late and it never
failed to warm him like a caress, but he just realized he didn’t know what it
meant. Chakotay smiled at Tom and made room for him on the couch. ‘Mmm, there’s
not really a single Federation word for it,’ he said, gathering Tom close to
him. He grinned and nuzzled Tom’s neck and said, as was the case with any Native
American legend, ‘I need to start at the beginning.’ Tom chuckled and snuggled
back in to Chakotay’s embrace. ‘I’ll change the story a little so it fits us,
but the meaning will be clear. Long ago, when the buffalo were plenty and the
skies were just a home for the stars, a brave warrior awoke one morning and went
to say his morning prayers by a crystal clear lake. When he got there another
warrior--’ ‘I have a feeling this is where the story’s nudged,’ Tom said,
laughing when Chakotay playfully bit his neck to silence him. ‘Another warrior
was bathing in the lake. Their eyes locked and the spirits stilled the world
around them. Brother Wind and Sister Sky; the animals and trees, the lake
herself were humbled as these two handsome men stood toe to toe and each gazed
into the heart of the other. They came together perfectly; made love on the
sandy shores in hommage to the gods who’d placed them at that exact spot at that
exact time; and for one beautiful moment, all was right with the world. There
was no injustice, no needless death, nothing but beauty and truth and a brief
glance at immortality. But then it was over, and the first warrior had to return
to his tribe which was preparing for battle. They were terribly saddened to be
separated, to lose one another so quickly after the finding, but the warrior’s
sense of duty was strong and there was nothing to be done. But he knew the
instant he first saw the other man that his life was elsewhere; that he had lost
the most important part of himself to the beautiful man before him. He would
return to his tribe to complete his final duty, then yield to the life the
spirits planned for him. The second warrior was terribly afraid. What if his
love was killed in battle? Or worse, what if he decided not to fulfill the
destiny the gods had chosen? The first warrior thought on this for a moment,
then removed his gish from around his neck. The gish is his medicine pack; in
it, he keeps everything that is holy to him; it is his connection to his spirit
world; the power behind every thought, every action, every beat of his heart. He
took the gish and placed it around the neck of his warrior and said, ‘There is
no me; there is only us. Without you I am not half; I am nothing. Only when we
are together can we live as our spirits want us to live. You are the keeper of
my soul; my spirit dwells in you and only when we are together may it come back
to rest within me.’ And so it was the spirits realized the power of uniting two
people in a love so holy, so strong that Brother Wind and Sister Sky bow down
before it; and the trees and animals and lakes and mountains pay tribute to its
beauty. So when a man is born, the spirits also plan for his teyaamo, the keeper
of his soul, and arrange the man’s life so that if he follows the beauty way; if
he allows himself to remain on the pathway of spiritual fullfillment, the gods
will find pleasure in him, and he will be rewarded with the revelation of his
teyaamo. I know now that you are my teyaamo, mi teyaamo. You’re the keeper of my
soul. You’re the reward for spiritual devotion; for walking with beauty all
around me.’ Tom was quiet for a long time before gruffly clearing his throat.
‘That’s a beautiful story,’ he said, turning to his side so he could slip his
arms around Chakotay and nuzzle his head on his shoulder. ‘It’s true,’ Chakotay
said. He sat up and gently disengaged from Tom’s hold. He took something from
the top dresser drawer and knelt before Tom, placing the small leather pouch in
his palm and wrapping his fingers around it. He kissed the hand that held his
gish and gazed into Tom’s stunned blue eyes. ‘Everything I need for my spiritual
life is in this gish. But my spiritual life means nothing without you, mi
teyaamo. So I’ll have you keep the gish as a symbol of my committment to you.
You hold in your hand my future; so now, my future can only be had through you.
I can’t have one without the other; which is fine with me, because without one,
I wouldn’t *want* the other.’ He leaned in and kissed Tom’s mouth, tasting his
salty tears as they slid down his cheeks. ‘I don’t....I don’t know what to say,’
Tom whispered. ‘Say you love me,’ Chakotay prompted. ‘Say I’m your life, Tom
Paris. And promise me; promise me with every gram of conviction you’ve got, that
you’ll never, ever leave me.’ Tom pulled the commander on top of him and stared,
memerized, into his silken brown eyes. ‘I love you,’ he whispered, punctuating
his words with light kisses. ‘You’re my life, Chakotay. And I promise, with
every gram of conviction I’ve got, that I’ll never, ever leave you.’