Chakotay enjoyed the stroll to the holodeck. He was careful to keep just enough distance between his arm and Tom’s for most of the time. Touching Tom had the disconcerting effect of shorting out his brain if he didn’t ration the experience. That had not been mentioned in any of the educational articles he’d studied, although descriptions of similar reactions were prevalent in the fiction, regardless of which cultural background the novels came from.
The holodeck doors opened and the men entered to stand on a footpath outside a stone building. A few holocharacters walked along the street. The club was located in a non-descript city. That detail alone had sparked one of their arguments, conducted via messages on PADDs when they had seen little of each other in the waking state. Tom had been all for setting the club in New York or one of the other large cities on Earth. Chakotay pushed for a different planet and a quieter location, citing the number of non-Terran born crewmembers, and the fact that Sandrine’s was located in France. They compromised, and both were pleased with the results.
The hostess, a quietly elegant version of Tom’s perennial holocharacter Ricky, welcomed them to the still unnamed club.
Chakotay eyed her with a little trepidation and a touch of hostility he couldn’t quite conceal, but this Ricky showed none of the Sandrine’s Ricky’s tendencies to drape herself over Tom and cover him with kisses.
Tom caught the expression on Chakotay’s face and considered teasing him for a moment, but thought the better of it and treated Ricky exactly as he would any other nightclub host. Then since Chakotay was his date, Tom threaded his fingers through his husband’s and towed him in the direction of the bar.
“We may as well start here. Do you want me to add some patrons for a more realistic effect, or leave it at just the staff?”
“Just the staff for now. It will be easier to tell whether anything needs reprogramming.” Chakotay reluctantly withdrew his hand from Tom’s as they settled on stools.
They gave their orders to the Bajoran barman and turned to survey their surroundings. It was large – large enough for the whole crew to fit should the occasion arise. The separate areas of dance floor, conversation pits, bar and general tables and chairs melded into a smooth whole. Knees touching and leaning toward one another, they debated the merits of the color scheme, the furnishings and the staff.
Tom placed his empty glass on the bar. “Let’s actually check out the rest of this place.” His heart inexplicably seemed to skip a beat and his stomach flip-flopped when Chakotay reached out and took his hand as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Touch and smell became preternaturally heightened. Tom drew in Chakotay’s scent with a single deep inhalation. Fingertips that were cool where they’d been in contact with the chilled wineglass warmed quickly. His palm burned momentarily but he couldn’t be sure whether the sensation was real or just in his mind. The urge to pull his hand away and wipe it along his trousers was difficult to resist and he conquered it by gripping Chakotay’s hand more firmly and giving it a reassuring shake. He couldn’t resist a sideways peek at his husband, but Chakotay was staring serenely ahead, eyes focused on the dance floor. They walked in silence over the carpeted area to the edge of the wooden floor and Tom did the only thing he could think of to regain control. “Dance with me?”
A young Bolian male, programmed to be a little less exuberant than Chell, currently controlled the music station. He announced one of his homeworld’s popular set dance pieces. Both men were familiar with the movements. Chakotay took his place next to Tom and they fell into step. A wave of happiness coursed through Tom. He grinned and looked sideways, needing to share his joy. Chakotay smiled and nodded in return, still keeping in time with the music, and managing to match the extra turns and flourishes Tom added.
With barely a pause, the next piece started, this time a Bajoran number. After some awkward sidestepping and fumbling, Chakotay said firmly, “Go on.”
Tom moved behind him and placed his hands on Chakotay’s hips. Chakotay’s hands moved up to cover them. Once in place, they again found their rhythm easily. It was too easy for Tom to lose himself once once, and his hands no longer remained in the prescribed position. The gentle guiding movements became teasing squeezes, and then careful, caressing stokes as he concentrated on the bunching and relaxing muscles beneath the soft material of Chakotay's pants. And Chakotay's hands stayed over Tom's, never slowing or stopping him, just maintaining skin contact and giving an occasional encouraging squeeze when it seemed Tom's hands might falter, while their feet kept dancing.
When the music segued into a jazzy Terran number, they gave up all pretence of changing to any recognizable dance form. Chakotay turned and tentatively placed his hands on Tom's hips and for a little while they simply swayed in place.
“Tom...” His voice cracked, so Chakotay cleared his throat and tried again. “Tom-”
“Shh.” Tom cut off Chakotay's husky whisper. “Not yet.” He moved his forearms to rest on Chakotay's shoulders. He interlaced his fingers behind Chakotay's neck and let them touch the short thick hair every now and then.
No longer sure whether he remembered to blink, Chakotay lost himself in Tom's eyes. When he was there, he forgot to think, forgot the butterflies in his stomach and forgot every one of his carefully made plans. His psyche somehow recognized the lust that he'd never before had directed personally at him and his responses were purely instinctual. His hands tightened on Tom's hips, pulling him closer. He wasn't aware of the messages his body sent in reply - that his pupils dilated, a flush spilled over his cheeks and his tongue appeared to moisten suddenly dry lips – nor that it was the last that caused Tom to forget his own nebulous plans for seduction, pull him in close and fasten his lips on Chakotay's.
Tom's lips were firm on his. They softened when they strayed to his eyelids. They felt hot and wet as they nuzzled his jaw. His head fell back, exposing his throat. When Tom licked his pulse, he groaned and slowly rolled his face back to bring his mouth where he wanted it to be.
His hands came up and grasped Tom’s head, holding him steady while he pressed his lips to Tom’s again and again. He didn’t notice his occasional hums of pleasure escaping between their lips. He thrilled to the wet swipes by a warm tongue along his lips.
“Open your mouth.”
“Hmm?” For a moment, he didn’t understand Tom’s murmured instruction.
There were a couple of firmer jabs at his lips. He opened his mouth, intending the distracted ‘hmm?’ to become a ‘huh?’. It was enough. He stilled as he tried to process the new sensations of a tongue stroking his, tracing his teeth, tickling his hard palate, but it was easier to simply give in to the moment and try to follow Tom’s lead. He tasted basil and the herbs from the lasagna, a hint the alcohol they’d drunk and Tom’s unique smell transmuted into flavor.
A small part of his brain anxiously wondered whether it was obvious he was no expert, but he’d always been a quick study, and Tom did not seem to be complaining. It was when Tom started to unbutton Chakotay’s shirt that he suddenly pulled back a little. “Tom”, he gasped, “we have to talk. I have to tell you -”
“Later,” Tom murmured, closing back to Chakotay's mouth. His tongue pressed for entrance again. A thought flitted across Tom's mind. It was obviously the counselor in Chakotay, wanting them to talk – now - about who knew what. He would just have to work a little harder to vanquish the counselor’s presence for the time being. They could talk later. This was going to be so good for them. He licked Chakotay's lower lip again and then sucked it into his mouth. The resulting harsh exhalation was a satisfactory indicator of successful distraction. He increased his oral assault. His hands roamed almost aimlessly as he caressed Chakotay’s face and jaw. He gently squeezed the back of Chakotay’s neck, then stroked along his spine, feeling the play of muscles beneath the shirt. He couldn’t resist taking a double handful of ass cheeks and using them to try and rub their groins together, wanting, needing the friction, but Chakotay twisted to the side and Tom found himself humping a hip instead. It didn’t matter. His ploy to silence Chakotay was working until he resumed trying to unbutton his shirt.
Chakotay pulled back again, and then changed tactics. He clasped Tom firmly to his chest, trapping his hands. He hung his chin on Tom’s shoulder. His chest heaved as he fought to control his breathing. “Computer, amount of time left for this reservation,” he barked out.
“There are forty-five minutes of this reservation remaining.”
“That’s plenty of time.” Tom spoke soothingly and turned his face to nuzzle Chakotay’s neck. He worked to free his hands, but found them clasped firmly in Chakotay’s.
“Just listen for a minute. Please. There’s something you should know.”
“Now would be best.”
The unmistakably serious tone cut through Tom’s sensual haze. He stopped moving and Chakotay relaxed his grip. Tom stared into Chakotay’s face. The visible flush and the light sheen of sweat on his forehead were most likely resulting from what they’d just been doing, but, he realized, could also be due to nerves. Either could also explain the convulsive swallow that drew his eye to the tightly corded muscles of Chakotay’s throat. Tom was about to lighten the situation with a little humor, but suddenly he thought he understood. Chakotay obviously had a medical problem of a sexual nature. It was exactly how various crew behaved when they were trying to explain to the EMH the symptoms that embarrassed them. The hours spent in Sickbay saved him from putting his foot in it and hurting Chakotay’s feelings. He could deal with this. He grasped for his assistant medic persona as he tried to damp down the sexual energy that still coursed through his body.
He lifted up his hands, still enclosed by Chakotay’s. He gently turned his wrists a few times until the light caught the twisted bands of Chakotay’s wedding ring.
“You, me, together. Remember? Do you want to talk here or go home?”
Tom mentally started cataloging possible problems as he waited for Chakotay’s answer. He dismissed piercings, inserted jewelry and tattoos. Chakotay would surely realize none of those would faze Tom. Ditto congenital anomaly and acquired deformity such as burns or scarring of some kind, unless the scarring had been the result of torture. He knew Chakotay had spent some time in a Cardassian prison camp, but he felt he would have heard some gossip about anything of that nature during his time in the Maquis. For the same reason, he dismissed the after-effects of a rape. There were also Chakotay’s previous relationships with B’Elanna, Seska and Kathryn Janeway to consider. While B’Elanna and the captain were discreet, Seska would have taken great delight in spreading personal details, had Chakotay anything other than tales of his legendary prowess worth telling. So size wasn’t an issue either. He kind of knew that already anyway. Towels, swimming costumes and tight jeans only concealed so much. Disease was unlikely, although long-term side effects from an earlier, maybe untreated, episode were a possibility.
“Home, if you don’t mind.”
“Not at all.”
Tom closed down the program and the men left the holodeck together. He threaded his fingers through Chakotay’s and they walked back to their quarters in silence. On the trip home, he continued to think as the doctor had trained him, until he realized what it must be. Chakotay probably had E.D., most likely of a psychological origin. Heaven only knew they all dealt with stress, anxiety, fear and even anger on pretty much a daily basis, and the senior staff, including Captain Janeway, had all been subject to bouts of depression and the like at various times. And Chakotay really carried a double burden, supporting the captain as he did. Whom did he have to turn to? It all fitted. Impotence, the dreaded limp-dick syndrome, would also explain why Tom couldn’t remember the last relationship Chakotay had. And why he turned away just before when Tom had tried to bring their erections into delicious, material-covered contact. And why Chakotay had seemed eager to keep their marriage platonic.
With their door now in sight, Tom had just a few seconds to review what he knew of the treatments available for impotence.
Inside, Chakotay paced anxiously for a few minutes. “Tom…”
“Come on, sit on the sofa with me.”
Chakotay sat and rested his forearms on his knees. His head bent forward, and he sighed deeply. “This is really embarrassing for me.”
“It’s okay. You don’t have to come right out and say it.”
“No. I guessed.”
“Oh. You could tell.”
“Not straight away. In fact, I didn’t realize until just before we left the holodeck.”
“You don’t mind”
“No. Of course not. All you have to remember is you’re not alone any more. We can deal with this together. You won’t even need to go to the doctor about it.”
“Go to the doctor?” Confused, Chakotay raised his head.
“I think I’ve got enough medical training to help you manage, that is, if you trust me.”
“Of course, I trust you, but, Tom, why would anyone need medical training for this?”
“Because it’s a medical problem. Strictly speaking, I’m guessing the cause of yours is psychological and not actually due to a condition of some sort.”
Chakotay’s eyes opened wide and he stared at Tom. He tilted his head to the side. “Ah, perhaps we should clarify things here. Just what is it you think I’ve got?”
The initials meant nothing to Chakotay. He shook his head.
“E.D. You know, erectile dysfunction. Impotence.” Tom flushed. “Limp dick,” he added in a loud whisper.
“I know what impotence is.”
“Yeah, well, what I’m saying is, you don’t have to hide it from me. I can help. I want to help.”
“I’m not impotent.”
“See. That’s denial. It’s all part of it. The first step to solving the problem is admitting you have one in the first place, and now I know, you can move on from that.” Tom was pleased with his logical reassurance. His psychobabble may not have been couched in the proper terms, but he meant the sentiments from his heart.
“Tom, listen to me, please.” In slow measured tones, Chakotay repeated, “I. Am. Not. Impotent.”
Tom looked closely at Chakotay. “Oh, fuck. You’re not, are you. I’ve just made a complete and utter fool of myself.” He covered his face and groaned. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”
“Actually, in a way, you’ve made it easier for me to tell you something you should know, because we’re married and after tonight, it’s pretty clear that we’ve reached a point in our relationship when I will need your…ah…help…umm…co-operation…err…”
Tom lowered his hands. He looked at the blush staining the dark cheeks. Chakotay was babbling again, still uncomfortable, even after Tom’s faux pas. His own embarrassment faded and he grinned companionably. “Come on. We seem to be a right pair. Spit it out. If you’re not impotent, then what?”
“I’m a virgin.”
To be continued
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