Missed Chances, by Brenda Antrim, (c) 1995 all rights not claimed by Paramount reserved

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"You'll never know what you're missing."

The words echoed in Tom's brain. He couldn't believe he'd just ... done what he'd just done. The silence behind him in the corridor echoed loudly. He walked with false confidence, trying not to look as if he was running from the turbolift, but not exactly dawdling either. Any minute now Chakotay would be over his shock. Then he'd hear his footsteps, know he'd made up his mind, know he was going to pay for his impertinence, one way or another--

A heavy hand fell on his shoulder, jerking him to a stop and pulling him around.

*Damn, I forgot he could move so silently*

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"I can't believe it." Standing, staring nonchalantly at the levels passing by, only he and the big commander in the turbolift. "Can't believe you had an opening like that and you just let it slip on by."

Slight sound of shifting, material sliding against skin, as Chakotay turned to look at him. Finally, when he was ready to give up, a response.

"Can't believe what, Paris?" Tone said he wasn't really interested, just making conversation. Unconsciously, it irritated him, made him want to get under the other man's skin.

"She let you know she was interested, and all you did was grin at her like a fool and let it pass." He snorted lightly, rampant disbelief at the first officer's lack of finesse in the romance department.

Chakotay was silent for a moment, probably wondering how to respond. Or even *if* to respond. You never quite knew with Paris. Decided this time it might be worth it, if only to see what sort of hair the younger man had turned crosswise this time. "Are you by chance speaking of the Captain?" Arctic ice in his voice.

Paris laughed inwardly. "By chance? Nope. By design." He finally glanced sideways, catching dark eyes with his own sparkling blue. "I just don't see why you don't follow up on it. Maybe ask her out." His voice fell into a coaxing near-whisper. Who else will she turn to? Out here so far from everyone? Surely you can see she's lonely. Aren't we all?"

Chakotay jerked away from the too-knowing eyes, concentrated on the wall of the lift again. Cold metal there, impersonal, nothing to rock his composure, make him think about things he didn't want to think about. "You're out of line, Lieutenant. If anything ever transpires between the Captain and myself it will be none of your business. And I don't believe anything ever will!"

Tom kept looking at him, amused by his refusal to meet his eyes. The devil in his sense of humor joined hands with the imp of his frustration, and he ran with the idea that blossomed in his head. "You'll never know what you're missing." Before the other man could ascertain his intentions, he caught his shoulders in a grip made strong by months of manual labor in prison. Forcing his surprised captive against the wall, holding him with unexpected gentleness, he angled his head and captured his mouth with his own. The mouth opened to protest was silenced by the firm pressure of Paris' lips and tongue, exploring the wet warmth unexpectedly opened up before him. The sweetness he found sucked him in, went to his head, blurred his senses. Arousal kicked him in the stomach, swift and shockingly strong. He pressed himself against the warm body he held, somehow not surprised by the evidence of arousal pressing against his own. Before he could completely lose his control, the beep beep of arrival signaled the opening lift doors, and he tore himself away from his stunned commander.

His stunned, thoroughly aroused, and utterly shocked commander.

Ran a shaky hand through his hair, tried to pretend that the deck hadn't just rocked under his feet. Tossed a jaunty grin at Chakotay, a little ragged at the edges, but hell, he wasn't in any state to notice, himself. Fleet uniforms didn't hide a damned thing. Turned to leave. Strode forward, almost whistled, but his mouth was too dry, a fact that startled him all over again. Tried not to shift, tried to ignore the state of his own arousal. Wondered what the inevitable fallout would be and how long he would have to wait.

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He tried to catch his balance, but the force of Chakotay's hand was too great, and he stumbled slightly. The other strong hand reached up, not to pound him into the deck as he expected, but to steady him and keep him from falling.

Huge, almost black eyes stared for a heartbeat into equally dilated sapphire, both sets sparkling with unexpected arousal and stunned emotions. As they stood there, locked in one another's gaze, a communicator beeped. Too close, almost couldn't tell who was being called, when all each could think of was that moment of contact, Chakotay's upper lip still slightly wet, a lightly bruised look to Tom's mouth that reminded the commander of a fresh, fallen peach waiting to be bitten--

"Commander?"

Oh. It was his.

"Yes, Captain?" Funny, his voice sounded almost rusty.

"Please report to my ready room."

Damn. Paris' eyelids had lowered until his eyes were half-closed, focused with lazy sensuality on Chakotay's mouth. He practically caught fire there, in the corridor, under those heavy hands.

"On my way, Captain." The hands dropped away, and Chakotay managed to pull himself back from the young pilot. Paris watched him go, striding, nearly running himself. So that was how he would play it. Like it never happened. A smile curved one side of his mouth. Maybe. Maybe not.

"You might find out what you'd otherwise be missing, *Commander*." His eyes were thoughtful as he turned to his quarters, embers of arousal banked but not gone from his eyes. "And so might I."
 

the end